United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Lee Prather (“Plaintiff”) brings this action
pursuant to § 205(g) of Title II of the Social Security
Act (“The Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2010),
seeking judicial review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) denying his application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and a period of
disability under Title II of the Act.
Parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate
judge to conduct any and all proceedings in this case,
including conducting the trial, ordering the entry of a final
judgment, and conducting all post-judgment proceedings. ECF
No. 5. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
protectively filed his disability application on December 18,
2014. (Tr. 10). In this application, Plaintiff alleges he was
disabled due to removal of his intestines and surgery to
correct his intestines. (Tr. 198). Plaintiff alleges an onset
date of December 10, 2014. (Tr. 10). This application was
denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 82-94).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his
application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr.
33-81). An administrative hearing was held on May 2, 2016 in
Hot Springs, Arkansas. Id. At the administrative
hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by Shannon
Muse Carroll. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Elizabeth Clem testified at this hearing.
Id. On the date of this hearing, Plaintiff testified
he was forty-six (46) years old, which is defined as a
“younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §
404.1563(c) (2008), and testified he completed eighth or
ninth grade. (Tr. 39)
27, 2016, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision on
Plaintiff's disability application. (Tr. 7-17). In this
decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status
requirements of the Act through March 31, 2017. (Tr. 12,
Finding 1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since
December 10, 2014, his alleged onset date. (Tr. 12, Finding
2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: status post Hartmann's procedure and
colostomy takedown; and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(“COPD”). (Tr. 12-13, Finding 3). The ALJ,
however, also determined Plaintiff did not have an impairment
or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled
one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 13, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 13-16, Finding 5).
First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined they were not entirely credible.
Id. Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained
the RFC for the following:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) and is further limited to occasional stooping
and bending; and no concentrated exposure to fumes, dust,
odors, or extreme heat or cold due to COPD.
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and determined he was unable to perform
any of his PRW. (Tr. 16, Finding 6). The ALJ did, however,
determine Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other
work existing in significant numbers in the national economy.
(Tr. 16-17, Finding 10). The VE testified at the
administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id.
Based upon this testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff
retained the capacity to perform the following unskilled,
light work: (1) cafeteria attendant with 1, 100 such jobs in
Arkansas and 140, 000 such jobs in the United States; and (2)
assembler with 2, 700 such jobs in Arkansas and 200, 000 such
jobs in the United States. Id. Because Plaintiff
retained the capacity to perform this other work, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as
defined by the Act, from December 10, 2014 through August 1,
2016, the ALJ's decision date. Id.
requested that the Appeals Council's review the ALJ's
unfavorable disability determination. (Tr.1-3). On August 7,
2017, the Appeals Council declined to review the ALJ's
disability determination. Id. On August 25, 2017,
Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1. The Parties
consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on August 25,
2017. ECF No. 5. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF
Nos. 14-15. This case is now ready for decision.
reviewing this case, this Court is required to determine
whether the Commissioner's findings are supported by
substantial evidence on the record as a whole. See
42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2006); Ramirez v. Barnhart,292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial evidence is
less than a preponderance of the evidence, but it is enough
that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to ...