United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
following Recommended Disposition
(“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States
District Judge J. Leon Holmes. 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.
Stephanie Denise Melton, applied for disability benefits on
January 7, 2015, alleging a disability onset date of January
15, 2010. (Tr. at 24). The application was denied initially
and upon reconsideration Id. After conducting a
hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
denied Ms. Melton's claim. (Tr. at 39). The Appeals
Council denied her request for review. (Tr. at 1). The
ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision of the
Commissioner, and Ms. Melton has requested judicial review.
For the reasons stated below, the Court should affirm the
decision of the Commissioner.
The Commissioner's Decision:
found that Ms. Melton had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the alleged onset date of January 15, 2010,
although she had worked at less than substantial gainful
activity during that time. (Tr. at 26). At Step Two of the
sequential five-step analysis, the ALJ found that Ms. Melton
had the following severe impairments: arrhythmia-atrial
fibrillations with syncope and hypertension. Id.
found that Ms. Melton's impairment did not meet or equal
a listed impairment. (Tr. at 30). Before proceeding
to Step Four, the ALJ determined that Ms. Melton had the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform
work at the sedentary level, with some limitations.
Id. She could occasionally stoop, crouch, kneel,
bend, crawl, and balance. Id. She could never work
from ropes, ladders, or scaffolding. Id. She would
have to avoid hazards such as work from unprotected heights
or operating a vehicle. Id. She would be limited to
simple, routine, and repetitive tasks with supervision that
is simple, direct, and concrete. Id.
next found that Ms. Melton was unable to perform her past
relevant work. (Tr. at 38). The ALJ relied on the testimony
of a Vocational Expert ("VE") to find that,
considering Ms. Melton's age, education, work experience
and RFC, jobs existed in significant numbers in the national
economy that she could perform, such as document preparer and
phone clerk. (Tr. at 39). Therefore, the ALJ found that Ms.
Melton was not disabled. Id.
Standard of Review
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
“[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)
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 record as a whole which supports
the decision of the ALJ. Miller, 784 F.3d at 477.
The Court has ...