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Tankersley v. Social Security Administration

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

January 15, 2019

LISA A. TANKERSLEY PLAINTIFF
v.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION DEFENDANT

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         I. Procedures for filing Objections:

         This Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to Chief District Judge Brian S. Miller. You may file written objections to this Recommendation. If you file objections, they must be specific and must include the factual or legal basis for your objection.

         Your objections must be received in the office of the United States District Court Clerk within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation.

         If no objections are filed, Chief Judge Miller can adopt this Recommendation without independently reviewing the record. By not objecting, you may also waive any right to appeal questions of fact.

         II. Introduction:

         Plaintiff, Lisa A. Tankersley, applied for disability benefits on June 3, 2013, alleging a disability onset date of January 1, 2010 (Tr. at 12).[1] After conducting a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denied her application. (Tr. at 20). 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 Tankersley has requested judicial review.

         For the reasons stated below, this Court should affirm the decision of the Commissioner.

         III. The Commissioner's Decision:

         The ALJ found that Tankersley had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date of January 10, 2013. (Tr. at 15). The ALJ found, at Step Two of the sequential five-step analysis, that Tankersley had the following severe impairments: osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus, and morbid obesity. Id.

         At Step Three, the ALJ determined that Tankersley's impairments did not meet or equal a listed impairment. (Tr. at 16). Before proceeding to Step Four, the ALJ determined that Tankersley had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform the full range of light work. (Tr. at 17).

         At Step Four, the ALJ found that Tankersley was unable to perform any past relevant work. (Tr. at 19). However, considering Tankersley's RFC, age, education, and work experience, the ALJ concluded that the Medical Vocational Guidelines required a finding of “not disabled” at Rule 202.17. (Tr. at 20). Consequently, the ALJ held that Tankersley was not disabled. Id.

         IV. Discussion:

         A. Standard of Review

         The Court's role is to determine whether the Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial evidence. Prosch v. Apfel, 201 F.3d 1010, 1012 (8th Cir. 2000). “Substantial evidence” in this context means less than a preponderance but more than a scintilla. Slusser v. Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir. 2009). In other words, it is “enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the ALJ's decision.” Id. (citation omitted). The Court must consider not only evidence that supports the Commissioner's decision, but also evidence that supports a contrary outcome. The Court cannot reverse the decision, however, “merely ...


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