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Henry v. Berryhill

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

January 24, 2019

DARLA NICHOLE HENRY PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL DEFENDANT Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          HON. BARRY A. BRYANT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Darla Nichole Henry (“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.

         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. 7.[1] 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 her disability application on March 13, 2014. (Tr. 14, 172-173). In her application, she alleges being disabled due to chronic tietze syndrome, costchondritis, depression, and chronic kidney stones. (Tr. 187). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of March 23, 2011. (Tr. 14). Her application was denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 72-102).

         After Plaintiff's application was denied, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 32-71). The ALJ held two administrative hearings on Plaintiff's case, one on August 19, 2015 and one on July 12, 2016. Id. The hearing on July 12, 2016 was held in Hot Springs, Arkansas. (Tr. 41-71). At this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by Randy Rainwater. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Myrtle Johnson testified at this hearing. Id.

         On October 7, 2016, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's application. (Tr. 11-26). The ALJ found Plaintiff last met the insured status requirements of the Act on March 31, 2016. (Tr. 16, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) during the period from her alleged onset date of March 23, 2011 through her date last insured of March 31, 2016. (Tr. 16, Finding 2). The ALJ determined that through her date last insured, Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: recurrent kidney stones, a mass on her ribs with related rib/sternum pain, mild degenerative disc disease with back pain, mild obesity, depression, and anxiety with panic attacks. (Tr. 16, Finding 3). The ALJ also determined that, through her date last insured, 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. 16-19, Finding 4).

         In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined her Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”). (Tr. 19-24, Finding 5). First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's 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, through the date last insured, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform a range of unskilled, sedentary and light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b).

Id.

         The ALJ determined Plaintiff was thirty-two (32) years old, which is defined as a “younger individual” under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (2008), on her date last insured. (Tr. 25, Finding 7). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had a high school education (plus a recent associate's degree in information technology) and was able to communicate in English. (Tr. 25, Finding 8).

         The ALJ then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work (“PRW”) and determined that through her date last insured, Plaintiff was unable to perform any of her PRW. (Tr. 24-25, Finding 6). The ALJ also considered whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 25-26, Finding 10). The VE testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id. Based upon that testimony, the ALJ found Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform both sedentary work and light work. Id. Specifically, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform the following occupations: (1) cashier II (light, unskilled) with 824, 000 such jobs in the nation; (2) counter clerk (light, unskilled) with 18, 000 such jobs in the nation; (3) call out operator (sedentary, unskilled) with 8, 400 such jobs in the nation; and (4) final assembler/optical goods (sedentary, unskilled) with 235, 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, at any time from her alleged onset date of March 23, 2011 through her date last insured of March 31, 2016. (Tr. 26, Finding 11).

         Thereafter, Plaintiff requested the review of the Appeals Council. On October 6, 2017, the Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr. 5-7). On December 8, 2017, Plaintiff filed her Complaint in this matter. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on December 18, 2017. ECF No. 7. Both Parties have appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 12-13. This case is now ready for decision.

         2.Applicable ...


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