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Medlin v. Social Security Administration

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

July 18, 2018

CRISSIE LEE MEDLIN PLAINTIFF
v.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION DEFENDANT

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         I. Procedures for filing Objections:

         This Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. Any party may file written objections to this Recommendation. Objections should be specific and should include the factual or legal basis for the objection.

         To be considered, objections must be received in the office of the Court Clerk within 14 days of this Recommendation. If no objections are filed, Judge Marshall can adopt this Recommendation without independently reviewing the record. By not objecting, parties may waive the right to appeal questions of fact.

         II. Introduction:

         On September 20, 2014, Crissie Lee Medlin applied for disability benefits, alleging an onset date of May 1, 2012. (Tr. at 21) Ms. Medlin's claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration. Id. After conducting a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denied Ms. Medlin's application. (Tr. at 33) Ms. Medlin requested that the Appeals Council review the ALJ's decision, but that request was denied. (Tr. at 1) Therefore, the ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. Ms. Medlin filed this case seeking judicial review of the decision denying her benefits.

         III. The Commissioner's Decision:

         The ALJ found that Ms. Medlin had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date of May 1, 2012. (Tr. at 23) At step two of the five-step analysis, he found that Ms. Medlin had the following severe impairments: borderline intellectual functioning and anxiety disorder. Id.

         After finding that Ms. Medlin's impairments did not meet or equal a listed impairment (Tr. at 24), the ALJ determined that Ms. Medlin had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform work at all exertional levels, with some mental limitations. (Tr. at 25) She could perform only unskilled work, where interpersonal contact is incidental to the work performed, the complexity of tasks is learned and performed by rote, involves few variables, and requires little independent judgment. Id. The supervision required is simple, direct, and concrete. Id. Ms. Medlin could not perform any work requiring that she make change, such as cashier or food server. Id.

         The ALJ found that Ms. Medlin was capable of performing her past relevant work as a bagger (Tr. at 31), but made an alternate finding at step five. Id. Relying on the testimony of a Vocational Expert (“VE”), the ALJ found that, based on Ms. Medlin's age, education, work experience and RFC, she was capable of performing work in the national economy as poultry dresser and housekeeper/cleaner. (Tr. at 33) The ALJ concluded, therefore, that Ms. Medlin was not disabled. Id.

         IV. Discussion:

         A. Standard of Review

         The Court's role in reviewing an unfavorable decision by the Commissioner is to determine whether the decision is supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. Prosch v. Apfel, 201 F.3d 1010, 1012 (8th Cir. 2000). “Substantial evidence” in this context means “enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the ALJ's decision.” Slusser v. Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). In reviewing the decision, the Court must consider not only evidence that supports the Commissioner's decision, but also evidence that supports a contrary outcome. The Court cannot reverse, however, just because there was sufficient evidence to support a different decision. Long v. Chater, 108 F.3d 185, 187 (8th Cir. 1997) (quoting Johnson v. Chater, 87 F.3d 1015, 1017 (8th Cir. 1996)).

         B. Ms. Medlin's Arguments on Appeal

         Ms. Medlin argues that substantial evidence does not support the ALJ's decision to deny benefits because the ALJ should have found that she met Listing 12.05. Ms. Medlin underwent an intelligence examination in August of 2013, administered by Sam Boyd, Ph.D., ...


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