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Henderson v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division

September 13, 2018

VINCENT HENDERSON PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Commissioner Social Security Administration DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          HON. BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Vincent Henderson (“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 decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) denying his application for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Act.

         The 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.[1] Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment in this matter.

         1. Background:

         On December 18, 2014, Plaintiff protectively filed his application. (Tr. 278). In his application, Plaintiff alleges he was disabled due to headaches, dizziness, and seizures with an alleged onset date of October 19, 2012. (Tr. 21, 296). The claim was denied initially on March 25, 2015, and again upon reconsideration on July 20, 2015. (Tr. 212).

         Thereafter, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 21, 224). An administrative hearing was held on May 26, 2016, in Little Rock, Arkansas. (Tr. 147). At the administrative hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by counsel, Greg Giles. (Tr. 147-170). Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Dianne Smith testified at this hearing. Id. On the date of this hearing, Plaintiff testified he was forty-three (43) years old, which is defined as a “younger person” under 20. C.F.R. § 416.963(c) (SSI), and testified he had completed the ninth grade in school but did obtain a GED. (Tr. 152). Plaintiff amended the onset date to November 30, 2015 at the time of the hearing. (Tr. 150). Medical records were submitted after the hearing and were taken into consideration by the ALJ. (Tr. 21).

         On July 19, 2016, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision on Plaintiff's application. (Tr. 18-33). In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since December 8, 2014, the initial application date. (Tr. 23, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: major motor seizures; essential hypertensions; obesity; organic mental disorder; and affective disorder. (Tr. 23-24, Finding 2). 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. 24-26, Finding 3).

         In this decision, the ALJ evaluated the Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 26-31, Finding 4). First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined they were only partially consistent with the evidence. Id. Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff returned 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 sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(a) except the claimant should only occasionally climb ramps or stairs; should never climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; and can occasionally balance, kneel, and crawl. Due to seizures, the claimant needs to avoid hazards, such as unprotected heights and moving mechanical parts; and should not operate a motor vehicle.
In addition, the claimant should avoid extreme heat in the workplace as well as flashing lights and beeping sounds. He is limited to unskilled work, meaning the claimant is able to understand, remember, and carry out simple instructions, make simple work related decisions, perform work where interpersonal contact is incidental to the work performed, and perform work where supervision is simple, direct, and concrete.

Id.

         The ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work (“PRW”) and determined he was unable to perform any of his PRW. (Tr. 32, Finding 5). The ALJ did, however, determine Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the national economy, specifically that of a table worker or a paster. (Tr. 32, Finding 9). The ALJ based this determination upon the testimony of the Vocational Expert. (Tr. 32-33, Finding 10).

         Plaintiff requested that the Appeals Council's review the ALJ's unfavorable disability determination. (Tr. 1). Plaintiff submitted additional medical evidence to the Appeals Council, none of which was considered and exhibited by the Appeals Council. (Tr. 1, 39-146). On August 14, 2017, the Appeals Council declined to review the ALJ's disability determination. (Tr. 1). On December 29, 2017, Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF No. 13. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on September 13, 2017. ECF No. 5. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 13-14. This case is now ready for decision.

         2. Ap ...


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