United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
following Recommended Disposition
(“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States
District Judge James M. Moody, Jr. 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.
Billy James Lovell, applied for disability benefits on April
1, 2015, alleging a disability onset date of March 28, 2015.
(Tr. at 10). After conducting a hearing, the Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”) denied his application. (Tr. at
22). The Appeals Council denied his request for review. (Tr.
at 1). The ALJ's decision now stands as the final
decision of the Commissioner. Lovell has requested judicial
reasons stated below, this Court should reverse the ALJ's
decision and remand for further review.
The Commissioner=s Decision:
found that Lovell had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the alleged onset date of March 28, 2015. (Tr.
at 14). At Step Two, the ALJ found that Lovell has the
following severe impairments: anxiety disorder, left eye
vision loss, obesity, and skull fracture. Id.
finding that Lovell's impairment did not meet or equal a
listed impairment (Tr. at 14), the ALJ determined that Lovell
had the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to
perform the full range of work at all exertional levels,
except that: (1) he could not perform work requiring climbing
of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; (2) he could have no
exposure to hazards or unprotected heights in the workplace;
(3) the work must not require bilateral vision and Lovell
would be unable to accurately judge distances; (4) the work
must not require exposure to sunlight; (5) he could perform
simple, routine, repetitive jobs, where supervision is
simple, direct, and concrete; and (6) the jobs would be SVP
level 1-2 with no more than normal changes to work place
settings. (Tr. at 15-16).
determined that Lovell unable to perform any past relevant
work. (Tr. at 21). Relying upon the testimony of the
Vocational Expert (“VE”) at Step Five, the ALJ
found that, based on Lovell's age, education, work
experience and RFC, jobs existed in the national economy
which he could perform, specifically router and marker (Tr.
at 22). Consequently, the ALJ found that Lovell was not
Standard of Review
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 Aenough 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, Amerely because substantial evidence exists for the
opposite decision." Long v. Chater, 108 F.3d
185, 187 (8th Cir. 1997) (quoting Johnson v. Chater,
87 F.3d 1015, 1017 (8th Cir. 1996)).
Lovell's Arguments on Appeal
argues that substantial evidence does not support the
ALJ's decision to deny benefits. He contends that the ALJ
should have found his headaches to be a severe impairment,
and that the RFC did not fully incorporate his limitations.
For the following reasons, the Court agrees with Lovell with
respect to the headaches.
claimant has the burden of proving that an impairment is
severe, which by definition significantly limits one or more
basic work activities. Gonzales v. Barnhart, 465
F.3d 890, 894 (8th Cir. 2006); see Bowen v. Yuckert,482 U.S. 137, 141 (1987); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1521(a). A
physical or mental impairment must last or be expected to
last not less than 12 months. Karlix v. Barnhart,457 F.3d 742, 746 (8th Cir. 2006). If the impairment would
have no more than a minimal effect on the claimant's