United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
ERIN L. WIEDEMANN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Melissa Coberly, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), seeking judicial review of a decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(Commissioner) denying her claims for a period of disability
and disability insurance benefits (DIB) and supplemental
security income (SSI) benefits under the provisions of Titles
II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). In this judicial
review, the Court must determine whether there is substantial
evidence in the administrative record to support the
Commissioner's decision. See 42 U.S.C. §
protectively filed her current applications for DIB and SSI
on June 25, 2014, alleging an inability to work since
February 14, 2014, due to her knees, depression, fibromyalgia
and back pain. (Tr. 113, 391, 395). An administrative hearing
was held on, January 5, 2016, at which Plaintiff appeared
with counsel and testified. (Tr. 40-75).
written decision dated March 9, 2016, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity (RFC) to
perform light work with limitations. (Tr. 219-230). Plaintiff
requested review of the unfavorable decision by the Appeals
Council. The Appeals Council vacated the ALJ's, decision
and remanded Plaintiff's case back to the ALJ for further
development on June 17, 2016. (Tr. 238-243). A supplemental
administrative hearing was held on April 5, 2017. (Tr.
written decision dated April 25, 2017, the ALJ found that
during the relevant time period, Plaintiff had an impairment
or combination of impairments that were severe. (Tr. 13).
Specifically, the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: hypertension, facet arthropathy at ¶
5-S1, a torn patella (left) s/p repair of the patellar
tendon, spina bifida of the lumbosacral spine, depression and
anxiety. However, after reviewing all of the evidence
presented, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's
impairments did not meet or equal the level of severity of
any impairment listed in the Listing of Impairments found in
Appendix I, Subpart P, Regulation No. 4. (Tr. 13). The ALJ
found Plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity
perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and
416.967(a) except with simple tasks, simple instructions, and
with only incidental contact with the public.
(Tr. 15). With the help of a vocational expert, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff could perform work as a document
preparer, an addresser, and a paramutual ticket checker. (Tr.
then requested a review of the hearing decision by the
Appeals Council, which denied that request on October 16,
2017. (Tr. 1-4). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action.
(Doc. 1). This case is before the undersigned pursuant to the
consent of the parties. (Doc. 6). Both parties have filed
appeal briefs, and the case is now ready for decision. (Docs.
Court's role is to determine whether the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole. Ramirez v.
Barnhart, 292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial
evidence is less than a preponderance but it is enough that a
reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
Commissioner's decision. The ALJ's decision must be
affirmed if the record contains substantial evidence to
support it. Edwards v. Barnhart, 314 F.3d 964, 966
(8th Cir. 2003). As long as there is substantial evidence in
the record that supports the Commissioner's decision, the
Court may not reverse it simply because substantial evidence
exists in the record that would have supported a contrary
outcome, or because the Court would have decided the case
differently. Haley v. Massanari, 258 F.3d 742, 747
(8th Cir. 2001). In other words, if after reviewing the
record it is possible to draw two inconsistent positions from
the evidence and one of those positions represents the
findings of the ALJ, the decision of the ALJ must be
affirmed. Young v. Apfel, 221 F.3d 1065, 1068 (8th
Court has reviewed the entire transcript and the parties'
briefs. For the reasons stated in the ALJ's well-reasoned
opinion and the Government's brief, the Court finds
Plaintiff's arguments on appeal to be without merit and
finds that the record as a whole reflects substantial
evidence to support the ALJ's decision. Accordingly, the
ALJ's decision is hereby summarily affirmed and
Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed with prejudice.
See Sledge v. Astrue, No. 08-0089, 2008 WL ...