United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Godwin (“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 decision of the Commissioner of
the Social Security Administration (“SSA”)
denying his claim for a period of disability and disability
insurance benefits (DIB) under the provisions of Title II of
the Social Security Act (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. 13. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
28, 2015, Plaintiff protectively filed his application. (Tr.
10, 198). In his application, Plaintiff alleges he was
disabled due to issues with his shoulder, neck, knee, right
arm, and a hernia with an alleged onset date of February 16,
2012. (Tr. 198, 202). The claim was denied initially on
November 6, 2015, and again upon reconsideration on April 15,
2016. (Tr. 96, 103).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his
application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 107,
124). An administrative hearing was held on December 3, 2015,
in Little Rock, Arkansas. (Tr. 35). At the administrative
hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by a
non-lawyer representative, Len Reed. (Tr. 35-50). Plaintiff
and Vocational Expert (“VE”) David Elmore,
testified at this hearing. (Id.). On the date of
this hearing, Plaintiff testified he was forty-eight (48)
years old, which is defined as a “younger person”
under 20. C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (DIB) and testified he
had completed the sixth grade in school. (Tr. 39).
26, 2017, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision on
Plaintiff's application. (Tr. 7-26). In this decision,
the ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial
Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since February 16, 2012,
the alleged onset date. (Tr. 13, Finding 2). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
degenerative joint disease of the knee, shoulder impingement,
degenerative disc disease, affective disorder, and anxiety.
(Tr. 13, Finding 3). The ALJ, however, also 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. 13-15, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated the Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 15-24, Finding 5).
First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined they were only partially consistent
with the evidence. Id. Second, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff retained the RFC for the following:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform work at the sedentary exertion
level. He can only occasionally kneel and crouch.
Nonexertionally, the claimant is able to perform work where
interpersonal contact is incidental to the work performed,
incidental is defined as interpersonal contact requiring a
limited degree of interaction such as meeting and greeting
the public, answering simple questions, accepting payment,
and making change; complexity of tasks can be learned by
demonstration or repetition within 30 days, few variables,
little judgment; supervision required is simple, direct, and
concrete (20 CFR 404.1567 (a)).
found Plaintiff was unable to perform her Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 25, Finding 6). The ALJ did,
however, determine Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform
other work existing in significant numbers in the national
economy, specifically that of an Addresser or Call Out
Operator. (Tr. 26, Finding 10). The ALJ based this
determination upon the testimony of the Vocational Expert.
(Tr. 25-26, Finding 10).
requested that the Appeals Council's review the ALJ's
unfavorable disability determination. (Tr. 1, 159). On
December 19, 2017, the Appeals Council declined to review the
ALJ's disability determination. (Tr. 1-4). On February 2,
2018, Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1. The
Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on March
13, 2018. ECF No. 13. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs.
ECF Nos. 17-19. This case is now ready for decision.
reviewing this case, this Court is required to determine
whether the Commissioner's findings are supported by
substantial evidence on the record as a whole. See
42 U.S.C. §405(g) (2006); Ramirez v. Barnhart,292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial evidence is
less than a preponderance of the evidence, but it is enough
that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
Commissioner's decision. See Johnson v. Apfel,240 F.3d 1145, 1147 (8th Cir. 2001). 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. See Haley v.
Massanari,258 F.3d 742, 747 (8th Cir. 2001). If, after
reviewing the record, it is possible to ...