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Porter v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division

January 18, 2019

BRIAN PORTER PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          HON. BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Brian Porter (“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 his application for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title II 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. Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment in this matter.

         1. Background:

         Plaintiff protectively filed his SSI application on April 22, 2014. (Tr. 131). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to migraine headaches. (Tr. 350). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of January 1, 2013. (Tr. 131-139). His SSI application was denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 200-221).

         Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his denied application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 293). Plaintiff's hearing was held on October 22, 2015 in Little Rock, Arkansas. (Tr. 150-182). At this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by Lisa Douglas. Id. Plaintiff, a witness for Plaintiff, and Vocational Expert (“VE”) William David Elmore testified at this hearing. Id.

         On February 17, 2016, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's disability application. (Tr. 128-139). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since April 22, 2014, his application date. (Tr. 133, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairment: migraines. (Tr. 133-134, Finding 2). The ALJ also determined that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that 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. 134, Finding 3).

         In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined his Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”). (Tr. 134-138, Finding 4). First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff' subjective complaints and found they were not entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following RFC:

After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) except the claimant should avoid hazards such as unprotected heights or dangerous machinery.

Id.

         The ALJ determined Plaintiff was thirty (30) years old, which is defined as a “younger individual” under 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c) (2008), on his alleged disability onset date. (Tr. 138, Finding 6). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had at least a high school education and was able to communicate in English. (Tr. 138, Finding 7).

         The ALJ then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work (“PRW”) and determined Plaintiff had no PRW. (Tr. 138, Finding 5). The ALJ also considered whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 138-139, Finding 9). The VE testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id. Based upon that testimony, the ALJ found Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform work as a Cashier II (light, unskilled) with 10, 000 such jobs in Arkansas and 1, 000, 000 such jobs in the nation and Cleaner or Housekeeper (light, unskilled) with 4, 000 such jobs in Arkansas and 400, 000 such jobs in the nation. Id. Based upon this finding, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from April 22, 2014 (application date) through February 17, 2016 (ALJ's decision date). (Tr. 139, Finding 10).

         Plaintiff sought review with the Appeals Council. On October 25, 2017, the Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr. 5-8). On December 22, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this case. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs and have consented to the jurisdiction of this Court. ECF Nos. 5, 16-17.

         2. Ap ...


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