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McCuien v. Berryhill

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

March 5, 2019

CLODIS SHANE MCCUIEN PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, performing the duties and functions not reserved to the Commissioner of Social Security DEFENDANT

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         The following Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States District Judge Billy Roy Wilson. 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, Clodis Shane McCuien (“McCuien”), applied for disability benefits on December 9, 2014, alleging disability beginning on October 1, 2014. (Tr. at 18). After conducting a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denied his application. (Tr. at 28). The Appeals Council denied his request for review. (Tr. at 1). Thus, the ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision of the Commissioner.

         For the reasons stated below, the Commissioner's decision should be affirmed.

         II. The Commissioner=s Decision:

         At the time of the hearing, McCuien was 33 years old and weighed 352 pounds. (Tr. at 24, 27). The ALJ found that McCuien had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date of October 1, 2014. (Tr. at 20). At Step Two, the ALJ found that McCuien has the following severe impairments: posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, bilateral flat feet, obesity, and mood disorder. (Tr. at 20).

         After finding that McCuien's impairment did not meet or equal a listed impairment (Tr. at 21), the ALJ determined that McCuien had the residual functional capacity (ARFC@) to perform the full range of sedentary work, except that: (1) he is limited to occasional stooping, crouching, crawling, kneeling, bending, and balancing, and is unable to operate foot controls; and (2) he is limited to simple, routine, and repetitive tasks where the supervision is simple, direct, and concrete. (Tr. at 23).

         The ALJ found that, based on his RFC, McCuien was unable to perform any past relevant work. (Tr. at 27). At Step Five, the ALJ relied on the testimony of a Vocational Expert ("VE") to find that, based on McCuien's age, education, work experience and RFC, jobs existed in significant numbers in the national economy that he could perform, including work as a final assembler of optical goods and surveillance systems monitor. (Tr. at 28). Thus, the ALJ found that McCuien 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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