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Richardson v. Berryhill

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

July 18, 2018

KRISTI LANE RICHARDSON, PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, performing the duties and functions not reserved to the Commissioner of Social Security, DEFENDANT

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         The following Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States District Judge James M. Moody, Jr. You may file written objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the factual and/or legal basis for your objections; and (2) be received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the right to appeal questions of fact.

         I. Introduction:

         Plaintiff, Kristi Lane Richardson, applied for disability benefits on May 11, 2015, alleging a disability onset date of August 26, 2014. (Tr. at 15). After conducting a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denied her application. (Tr. at 23). The Appeals Council denied her request for review. (Tr. at 1). The ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. Richardson has requested judicial review.

         For the reasons stated below, this Court should reverse the ALJ's decision and remand for further review.

         II. The Commissioner's Decision:

         The ALJ found that Richardson had not engaged in substantial gainful activity during the period from her alleged onset date of August 26, 2014 through her date last insured of December 31, 2015.[1] (Tr. at 17). At Step Two, the ALJ found that Richardson has the following severe impairments: comminuted fracture of the left arm and shoulder and status post fracture of the right shoulder. Id.

         After finding that Richardson's impairments did not meet or equal a listed impairment (Tr. at 18), the ALJ determined that Richardson had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform the full range of sedentary work. (Tr. at 19).

         The ALJ found that Richardson was unable to perform any past relevant work. (Tr. at 21). Relying upon the testimony of the Vocational Expert (“VE”) at Step Five, the ALJ found that, based on Richardson's age, education, work experience and RFC, jobs existed in significant numbers in the national economy that she could perform, such as call out operator, surveillance system monitor, and bonder semi-conductor. (Tr. at 22). Consequently, the ALJ found that Richardson was not disabled. Id.

         III. Discussion:

         A. Standard of Review

         The Court's function on review is to determine whether the Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole and whether it is based on legal error. Miller v. Colvin, 784 F.3d 472, 477 (8th Cir. 2015); see also 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). While “substantial evidence” is that which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, “substantial evidence on the record as a whole” requires a court to engage in a more scrutinizing analysis:

“[O]ur review is more than an examination of the record for the existence of substantial evidence in support of the Commissioner's decision; we also take into account whatever in the record fairly detracts from that decision.” Reversal is not warranted, however, “merely because substantial evidence would have supported an opposite decision.”

Reed v. Barnhart, 399 F.3d 917, 920 (8th Cir. 2005) (citations omitted).

         It is not the task of this Court to review the evidence and make an independent decision. Neither is it to reverse the decision of the ALJ because there is evidence in the record which contradicts his findings. The test is whether there is substantial evidence in the ...


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