United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Clark (“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 application for a period of
disability and Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) under Title II 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. 8. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
protectively filed his DIB application on December 16, 2015.
(Tr. 18). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to residuals of a crushed leg in 2005, left knee
replacement in 2008, right leg joint pain, degeneration of
lumbar and cervical back, nerve damage in his neck,
uncontrolled hypertension, high cholesterol, sleep apnea,
grain pain, and bipolar disorder and depression. (Tr. 188).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of August 27, 2015. (Tr. 18).
This application was denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 71-95).
Plaintiff's application was denied, Plaintiff requested
an administrative hearing on this application, and this
hearing request was granted. (Tr. 31-70, 105-106).
Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held on August 8,
2017 in Alexandria, Louisiana. (Tr. 31-70). At this hearing,
Plaintiff was present and was represented by counsel.
Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Thomas Bode testified at this hearing.
Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff testified he was
forty-three (43) years old, which is defined as a
“younger individual” under 20 C.F.R. §
404.1563(c) (2008) (DIB). (Tr. 34). Plaintiff also testified
he had completed high school. (Tr. 34, 37).
the ALJ entered an unfavorable disability determination on
November 6, 2017. (Tr. 15-30). The ALJ found Plaintiff met
the insured status requirements of the Act through December
31, 2020. (Tr. 20, Finding 1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had
not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) from August 27, 2015 (his alleged onset
date) through November 9, 2017 (ALJ's decision date).
(Tr. 26, Finding 11). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the
following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of
the lumbar and cervical spine, hypertension, residuals of
bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, status post bilateral
releases, residuals of left knee replacement and crushed left
leg repair, obesity, and depression. (Tr. 20, Finding 3).
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. 21, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 22-24, Finding 5). First, the ALJ
evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and largely
discounted them. Id. Second, the ALJ found Plaintiff
retained the following RFC:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in
20 CFR 404.1567(a) except no constant but frequently handling
and fingering and only occasional interaction with others.
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and determined Plaintiff was unable to
perform any of his PRW. (Tr. 24-25, Finding 6). The ALJ also
considered whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform
other work existing in significant numbers in the national
economy. (Tr. 25-26, Finding 10). The VE testified at the
administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id.
upon that testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained
the capacity to perform the following two occupations: (1)
final assembler (sedentary, unskilled) with 53, 459 such jobs
in the national economy and (2) lens inserter (sedentary,
unskilled) with 83, 423 such jobs in the national economy.
(Tr. 25-26, Finding 10). Because Plaintiff retained the
capacity to perform this other work, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined by the
Act, at any time from August 27, 2015 (alleged onset date)
through November 9, 2017 (ALJ's decision date). (Tr. 26,
requested the Appeals Council's review of the ALJ's
unfavorable disability determination. On May 23, 2018, the
Appeals Council declined to review the ALJ's disability
determination. (Tr. 1-3). On July 19, 2018, Plaintiff filed
the present appeal. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the
jurisdiction of this Court on July 27, 2018. ECF No. 8. This
case is now ready for decision.