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Palmore v. Social Security Administration

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division

February 14, 2019

TERESA M. PALMORE PLAINTIFF
v.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION DEFENDANT

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         The following Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States District Judge Kristine G. Baker. 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.

         I. Introduction:

         Plaintiff, Teresa M. Palmore, applied for disability benefits on August 20, 2015, alleging a disability onset date of June 10, 2015. (Tr. at 24). After conducting a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denied her application. (Tr. at 33). The Appeals Council denied her request for review. (Tr. at 1). The ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. Ms. Palmore has requested judicial review.

         For the reasons stated below, this Court should affirm the ALJ's decision.

         II. The Commissioner's Decision:

         Ms. Palmore was 41 years old on the alleged onset date of disability, June 10, 2015. (Tr. at 49, 50). She was 5'5” and 360 pounds. (Tr. at 58). The ALJ found that Ms. Palmore had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date. (Tr. at 26). At Step Two, the ALJ found that Ms. Palmore has the following severe impairments: right foot stress fracture, Achilles tendonitis of the left ankle, degenerative disc disease, bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, left cubital tunnel syndrome, and obesity. Id.

         After finding that Ms. Palmore's impairment did not meet or equal a listed impairment (Tr. at 27), the ALJ determined that Ms. Palmore had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform the full range of sedentary work, except that: (1) she would require a sit/stand option that involves standing or walking intervals of 15 minutes and sitting in intervals of 30 minutes; (2) she could occasionally use both hands for gross manipulation but frequently use both hands for fine manipulation; (3) she must avoid exposure to hazards such as moving mechanical parts of equipment, tools, or machinery, must avoid electric shock, and must avoid exposure to unprotected heights. Id.

         The ALJ determined that Ms. Palmore was not capable of performing any past relevant work. (Tr. at 32). Relying upon the testimony of the Vocational Expert (“VE”) at Step Five, the ALJ found that, based on Ms. Palmore's age, education, work experience and RFC, jobs existed in the national economy which she could perform, specifically callout operator and surveillance systems monitor. (Tr. at 33). Consequently, the ALJ found that Ms. Palmore was not disabled. Id.

         III. Discussion:

         A. Standard of Review The Court's function on review is to determine whether the Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole and whether it is based on legal error. Miller v. Colvin, 784 F.3d 472, 477 (8th Cir. 2015); see also 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). While “substantial evidence” is that which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, “substantial evidence on the record as a whole” requires a court to engage in a more scrutinizing analysis:

“[O]ur review is more than an examination of the record for the existence of substantial evidence in support of the Commissioner's decision; we also take into account whatever in the record fairly detracts from that decision.” Reversal is not warranted, however, “merely because substantial evidence would have supported an opposite decision.”

Reed v. Barnhart, 399 F.3d 917, 920 (8th Cir. 2005) (citations omitted).

         It is not the task of this Court to review the evidence and make an independent decision. Neither is it to reverse the decision of the ALJ because there is evidence in the record which contradicts his findings. The test is whether there is substantial evidence in the ...


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