United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED
VOLPE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
recommended disposition has been submitted to United States
District Judge James M. Moody, Jr. The parties may file
specific objections to these findings and recommendations and
must provide the factual or legal basis for each objection.
The objections must be filed with the Clerk no later than
fourteen (14) days from the date of the findings and
recommendations. A copy must be served on the opposing party.
The district judge, even in the absence of objections, may
reject these proposed findings and recommendations in whole
or in part.
David Mueller, has appealed the final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration to deny
his claim for supplemental security income. Both parties have
submitted briefs and the case is ready for a decision.
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 free of legal error.
Slusser v. Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir.
2009); Long v. Chater, 108 F.3d 185, 187 (8th Cir.
1997); see also 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g),
1383(c)(3). Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as
a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401
(1971); Reynolds v. Chater, 82 F.3d 254, 257 (8th
assessing the substantiality of the evidence, courts must
consider evidence that detracts from the Commissioner's
decision as well as evidence that supports it; a court may
not, however, reverse the Commissioner's decision merely
because substantial evidence would have supported an opposite
decision. Sultan v. Barnhart, 368 F.3d 857, 863 (8th
Cir. 2004); Woolf v. Shalala, 3 F.3d 1210, 1213 (8th
Cir. 1993). After careful review of the pleadings and
evidence in this case, I find the Commissioner's decision
is supported by substantial evidence and recommend the
Complaint be DISMISSED.
is forty-six years old. (Tr. 62.) He earned a general
equivalence degree (id.) and has past relevant work
as an auto mechanic, hand packager, kitchen assistant, and
fast food worker. (Tr. 27, 62.)
found Mr. Mueller had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since March 3, 2016, the application date. (Tr. 13.)
He has “severe” impairments in the form of
“disorder of the back, obstructive sleep apnea
disorder, anxiety, personality disorder and coronary artery
disease.” (Id.) The ALJ further found Mr.
Mueller did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments meeting or equaling an impairment listed in 20
C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 14-15.)
determined Mr. Mueller had the residual functional capacity
to perform a reduced range of sedentary work given his mental
and physical impairments. (Tr. 15.) The ALJ determined Mr.
Mueller could no longer perform his past relevant work, so
the ALJ utilized the services of a vocational expert (VE) to
determine if jobs existed that Plaintiff could perform
despite his impairments. (Tr. 27-29.) Based on the testimony
of the VE, the ALJ determined Mr. Mueller could perform the
jobs of ampoule sealer, compact assembler, and table worker
despite his impairments. (Tr. 28.) Accordingly, the ALJ
determined Mr. Mueller was not disabled. (Tr. 29.)
Appeals Council received additional evidence and denied
Plaintiff's request for a review of the ALJ's
decision, making his decision the final decision of the
Commissioner. (Tr. 1-3.) Plaintiff filed the instant
Complaint initiating this appeal. (Doc. No. 2.)
support of his Complaint, Plaintiff says the ALJ erred by
relying on the opinion of the vocational expert (VE). (Doc.
No. 11 at 6-15.) He argues that the VE did not adequately
prove how she determined there were adequate numbers of
ampoule sealer, compact assembler, and table worker jobs
available in the economy. In other words, Plaintiff says the
VE must have a rational basis for testifying that a certain
number of jobs exist in the national economy. Plaintiff
Given the vocational expert's response there was no
evidence to support the numbers of jobs identified by the
expert. It was mere speculation, based on the unfounded
assumption that if there are a certain number of jobs in a
particular category, some of which are unskilled, some of
which are semi-skilled, and some of which are skilled, there
are equal numbers of the jobs in that category that are
unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled. The objection was that
there was no ...