United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Kay Rhodes Arterbury (“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 final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) denying her application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and a period of
disability under Title II of the Act.
to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3)
(2009), the Honorable Susan O. Hickey referred this case to
this Court for the purpose of making a report and
recommendation. In accordance with that referral, and after
reviewing the arguments in this case, this Court recommends
Plaintiff's case be REVERSED AND
protectively filed her disability application on July 25,
2013. (Tr. 65). In her application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to a long list of impairments, including
osteoarthritis, hormone replacement, post-traumatic stress
disorder, cataracts, a sprain, bursitis or tendinitis, a
hysterectomy, internal hemorrhoids, rectal bleeding, anemia,
morbid obesity, borderline diabetes, bipolar disorder,
asthma, GERD, allergic rhinitis, shortness of breath,
arthralgia, hyperlipidemia, and migraines. (Tr. 254).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of December 20, 2011. (Tr.
65). This application was denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 116-141).
requested an administrative hearing on her denied
application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr.
76-95, 142). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held
on September 5, 2015 in Texarkana, Arkansas. (Tr. 76-95). At
this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by
counsel. Id. Plaintiff, Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Ms. Yarborough, and a witness for
Plaintiff testified at this hearing. Id.
January 13, 2016, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision
denying Plaintiff's application. (Tr. 62-71). In this
decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status
requirements of the Act through December 31, 2017. (Tr. 67,
Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since
December 20, 2011, her alleged onset date. (Tr. 67, Finding
2). The ALJ found Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: hypertension, diabetes mellitus, obesity,
migraines, degenerative joint diseases of the left knee,
osteoarthritis, and asthma. (Tr. 67-68, Finding 3). Despite
being severe, the ALJ determined those impairments did not
meet or medically equal the requirements of any of the
Listings of Impairments in Appendix 1 to Subpart P of
Regulations No. 4 (“Listings”). (Tr. 68, Finding
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 68-70, Finding 5).
First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and found her claimed limitations were not
entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff retained the RFC to perform the following:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform the full range of sedentary
work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) except she must avoid
high production quotas.
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 71, Finding 6). Specifically, the
ALJ determined Plaintiff's PRW included work as a cardiac
monitor technician. Id. Considering her RFC, the ALJ
found Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform this PRW.
Id. As such, because Plaintiff retained the capacity
to perform her PRW, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been
under a disability, as defined by the Act, from December 20,
2011 through the date of her decision or through January 13,
2016. (Tr. 71, Finding 7).
Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council's review of the
ALJ's unfavorable decision. (Tr. 15). On April 10, 2017,
the Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr.
1-4). On June 7, 2017, Plaintiff filed the present appeal.
ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos.
15-16. This case is now ready for decision.
reviewing this case, this Court is required to determine
whether the Commissioner's findings are supported by
substantial evidence on the record as a whole. See
42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2010); Ramirez v. Barnhart,292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial evidence is
less than a preponderance of the evidence, but it is enough
that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
Commissioner's decision. See Johnson v. Apfel,240 F.3d 1145, 1147 (8th Cir. 2001). 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. See Haley v.
Massanari,258 F.3d 742, 747 (8th Cir. 2001). If, after
reviewing the record, it is possible to ...