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Cronin v. Social Security Administration

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

November 14, 2018

KEITH CRONIN PLAINTIFF
v.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         Keith Cronin applied for social security disability benefits with an alleged onset date of August 15, 2011. (R. at 47). The administrative law judge (ALJ) held a hearing and denied his application (R. at 20), and the Appeals Council denied his request for review. (R. at 1). Mr. Cronin requested judicial review, and the court reversed and remanded the case for further action. (R. at 412-22).

         After a second hearing, the ALJ again denied Mr. Cronin's application. (R. at 374). The Appeals Council again denied review. (R. at 355). Mr. Cronin filed this case again requesting judicial review. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the magistrate judge.

         I. The Commissioner's Decision

         The ALJ found that Mr. Cronin had the following severe impairments: borderline intellectual functioning, learning delays, schizoaffective disorder, mood disorder, personality disorder, and an anxiety disorder. (R. at 367). The ALJ considered Mr. Cronin's impairments under listings 12.03, 12.04, 12.08, and 12.11 and found that they did not meet or medically equal any of those listings. (R. at 368-69).

         The ALJ found that Mr. Cronin had the residual functional capacity to perform work at all exertional levels, but that he would be limited to simple, routine, and repetitive tasks that require only incidental interpersonal contact and simple, direct, and concrete supervision. (R. at 25). The ALJ took testimony from a vocational expert (VE), who testified that the RFC would allow Mr. Cronin to perform his past relevant work as a material mixer. (R. at 372). The VE further testified that Mr. Cronin could perform other jobs such as dishwasher or cook's helper. (R. at 373). The ALJ held, therefore, that Mr. Cronin was not disabled. (R. at 373).

         II. Discussion

         In this appeal, the Court must review the Commissioner's decision for legal error and assure that the decision is supported by substantial evidence on the whole record. Brown v. Colvin, 825 F.3d 936, 939 (8th Cir. 2016) (citing Halverson v. Astrue, 600 F.3d 922, 929 (8th Cir. 2010)). Stated another way, the decision must rest on enough evidence that “a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support [the] conclusion.” Halverson, 600 F.3d at 929. The Court will not reverse the decision, however, solely because there is evidence to support a conclusion different from that reached by the Commissioner. Pelkey v. Barnhart, 433 F.3d 575, 578 (8th Cir. 2006).

         Mr. Cronin argues that the ALJ failed to consider whether he met the criteria for listing 12.05. He also argues that the RFC assigned by the ALJ is not supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole.

         The record includes the results of two IQ tests administered to Mr. Cronin. In the first, Vickie Caspall, Ph.D., found that Mr. Cronin had a full-scale IQ of 61, verbal comprehension score of 66, perceptual reasoning score of 67, working memory score of 65, and processing speed score of 68. (R. at 346). Dr. Caspall opined that the scores were not consistent with a diagnosis of mental retardation due to other factors affecting performance. (R. at 347-48). Nevertheless, Dr. Caspall felt that the results were valid. (R. at 350).

         In the second test, Kenneth Hobby, Ph.D., found that Mr. Cronin had a full-scale IQ of 68, verbal comprehension score of 66, perceptual reasoning score of 84, working memory score of 71, and a processing speed score of 68. (R. at 689). Dr. Hobby indicated that the IQ results were probably reliable and that the overall examination was valid. (R. at 691, 696).

         Listing 12.05B requires the following:

B. Satisfied by 1, 2, and 3 (see 12.00H):
1. Significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning evidenced by a or b:
a. A full scale (or comparable) IQ score of 70 or below on an individually administered standardized test of ...

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