United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
PEGGY S. LONG PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
ERIN L. WIEDEMANN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Peggy S. Long, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), seeking judicial review of a decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(Commissioner) denying her claim for a period of disability
and disability insurance benefits (DIB) under the provisions
of Title II of the Social Security Act (Act). In this
judicial review, the Court must determine whether there is
substantial evidence in the administrative record to support
the Commissioner's decision. See 42 U.S.C.
protectively filed her current application for DIB on
December 9, 2013, alleging an inability to work since October
21, 2013, due to recent back surgeries, pain in upper back,
neck problems, anxiety, acid reflux, blood pressure, and
problems sleeping. (Tr. 66, 78). For DIB purposes, Plaintiff
maintained insured status through December 31, 2018. (Tr. 33,
78). An administrative video hearing was held on February 10,
2015, at which Plaintiff and counsel appeared and Plaintiff
testified. (Tr. 47-59). Montie U. Lumpkin, a vocational
expert, also testified. (Tr. 60-64).
written decision dated September 19, 2015, the ALJ found that
during the relevant time period, Plaintiff had severe
impairments of lumbar and cervical disorders of the back
(status post/two lumbar surgeries); chronic pain; and hand
numbness. (Tr. 33). However, after reviewing all of the
evidence presented, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's
impairment did not meet or equal the level of severity of any
impairment listed in the Listing of Impairments found in
Appendix I, Subpart P, Regulation No. 4. (Tr. 35). The ALJ
found that Plaintiff retained the residual functional
capacity (RFC) to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR
404.1567(a), except that Plaintiff was limited to occasional
climbing of ramps, stairs, ladders, ropes, and scaffolds;
occasional balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, and
crawling; and frequent bilateral handling and fingering. (Tr.
35-39). With the help of a vocational expert (VE), the ALJ
determined that Plaintiff was capable of performing her past
relevant work as a data administrator/school secretary as
actually and generally performed; thus, Plaintiff had not
been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security
Act, from October 21, 2013, through September 19, 2015, the
date of the ALJ's opinion. (Tr. 40).
then requested a review of the hearing decision by the
Appeals Council, which denied that request on March 29, 2017.
(Tr. 1-7). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action. (Doc.
1). This case is before the undersigned pursuant to the
consent of the parties. (Doc. 6). Both parties have filed
appeal briefs, and the case is now ready for decision. (Docs.
Court's role is to determine whether the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole. Ramirez v.
Barnhart, 292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial
evidence is less than a preponderance but it is enough that a
reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
Commissioner's decision. The ALJ's decision must be
affirmed if the record contains substantial evidence to
support it. Edwards v. Barnhart, 314 F.3d 964, 966
(8th Cir. 2003). As long as there is substantial evidence in
the record that supports the Commissioner's decision, the
Court may not reverse it simply because substantial evidence
exists in the record that would have supported a contrary
outcome, or because the Court would have decided the case
differently. Haley v. Massanari, 258 F.3d 742, 747
(8th Cir. 2001). In other words, if after reviewing the
record it is possible to draw two inconsistent positions from
the evidence and one of those positions represents the
findings of the ALJ, the decision of the ALJ must be
affirmed. Young v. Apfel, 221 F.3d 1065, 1068 (8th
Court has reviewed the entire transcript and the parties'
briefs. For the reasons stated in the ALJ's well-reasoned
opinion and the Government's brief, the Court finds
Plaintiff's arguments on appeal to be without merit and
finds that the record as a whole reflects substantial
evidence to support the ALJ's decision. Accordingly, the
ALJ's decision is hereby summarily affirmed and
Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed with prejudice.
See Sledge v. Astrue, No. 08-0089, 2008 WL 4816675
(W.D. Mo. Oct. 31, 2008) (summarily affirming ALJ's
denial of disability benefits), aff'd, 364
Fed.Appx. 307 (8th Cir. 2010).
SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED.
 Nancy A. Berryhill, has been appointed
to serve as acting Commissioner of Social Security, and is
substituted as Defendant, pursuant to Rule 25(d)(1) of the