United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Meadors (“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 applications for a period of
disability, Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”), and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI of the Act.
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. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
protectively filed his disability applications on March 30,
2015 (DIB) and on March 25, 2015 (SSI). (Tr. 34). In his
applications, he alleges being disabled due to his ankle
being broken in three places, problems with his hip, and
problems with his breathing. (Tr. 216). Plaintiff alleges an
onset date of January 1, 2014. (Tr. 34). These applications
were denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr.
requested an administrative hearing on his denied
applications. (Tr. 140-141). This hearing request was
granted, and Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held
on October 26, 2016 in Alexandria, Louisiana. (Tr. 50-74). At
this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by
counsel, Mary Thomason. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational
Expert (“VE”) Mark Cheers testified at this
this hearing, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision denying
his disability applications. (Tr. 31-44). In this decision,
the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements
of the Act through June 30, 2016. (Tr. 36, Finding 1). The
ALJ determined Plaintiff engaged in Substantial Gainful
Activity (“SGA”) during the following periods:
January 1-31, 2014. (Tr. 36, Finding 2). However, the ALJ
also found that there was a continuous twelve-month period
during which Plaintiff did not engage in SGA. (Tr. 36,
Finding 3). Thus, the ALJ considered that period.
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
post-traumatic stress to the left ankle, degenerative disc
disease, residual effects of vertebral fractures, and
affective disorder. (Tr. 37, Finding 4). Despite being
severe, the ALJ determined Plaintiff did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R.
Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 37-39, Finding 5).
determined Plaintiff had a high school education and was able
to communicate in English. (Tr. 43, Finding 9). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff was forty-five (45) years old, which is
defined as an “younger individual” under 20
C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (2008) and 20 C.F.R. §
416.963(c) (2008), on his alleged disability onset date. (Tr.
43, Finding 8).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 39-42, Finding 6).
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 sedentary work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) with the exceptions listed
herein. He can never operate foot controls on the left.
Posturally, he can never climb ladders or scaffolds but he
can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance and stoop.
He can never kneel, crouch, or crawl. He cannot work at
unprotected heights, operate a motor vehicle, or work in
extreme cold. In addition, he is not able to perform at a
production rate pace but he can perform goal-oriented work.
He is limited to unskilled or semi-skilled work, as defined
by the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. Jobs must provide a
sit/stand option, which would allow for a brief change of
position for one to two minutes every thirty minutes without
being off-task or away from the workstation. . . .
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and determined Plaintiff was unable to
perform any of his PRW. (Tr. 42-43, Finding 7). The ALJ also
considered whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform
other work existing in significant numbers in the national
economy. (Tr. 43-44, Finding 11). 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 call-out operator
(sedentary, unskilled work) with 41, 800 such jobs in the
nation; polisher (sedentary, unskilled) with 73, 500 such
jobs in the nation; and order clerk (sedentary, unskilled)
with 165, 800 such jobs in the nation. (Tr. 43-44). Based
upon this finding, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been
under a disability, as defined by the Act, from his
application date of January 1, 2014 through the date of her
decision or through February 8, 2017. (Tr. 44, Finding 12).
sought review with the Appeals Council. On January 4, 2018,
the Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr.
5-8). On January 30, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in
this matter. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs
and have consented to the ...