United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
PATTY M. CONDLEY PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, performing the duties and functions not reserved to the Commissioner of Social Security DEFENDANT
following Recommended Disposition
(“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States
Chief District Judge Brian S. Miller. 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.
Patty M. Condley (“Condley”), applied for
disability benefits on April 11, 2013, alleging disability
beginning on December 5, 2012. (Tr. at 417). After conducting a
hearing on February 27, 2014, the Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) denied her application on September 11,
2014. (Tr. at 425). The Appeals Council denied her request
for review. (Tr. at 1). Thereafter, on July 27, 2015, Condley
filed a complaint in this Court, seeking remand. See
Condley v. Social Security Administration, 4:15-CV-00462
JTR, (E.D. Ark. October 18, 2016).
order dated October 18, 2016, the Court reversed and remanded
the ALJ's decision, with instructions to
“further develop the record with necessary medical
information, ” which at that point contained only
two medical opinions, those of reviewing state-agency
doctors. (Tr. at 58, 70, 444).
November 28, 2016, the Appeals Council issued a remand order
consistent with this Court's ruling, and instructed the
ALJ to “take any further action needed to complete
the administrative record and issue a new decision…and
offer [Condley] the opportunity for a [second]
hearing.” (Tr. at 448). Eight new medical exhibits
were obtained (Tr. at 576-713), and a second hearing was held
on May 30, 2017. (Tr. at 386-413).
decision dated September 9, 2017, the same ALJ again denied
Condley's application for disability benefits. (Tr. at
374-379). She appealed that ruling to the Appeals Council,
which declined review of the ALJ's decision. (Tr. at 1).
Thus, the ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision
of the Commissioner. Condley has filed a Complaint seeking
judicial review from this Court.
reasons stated below, the Court concludes that the
Commissioner's decision should be affirmed.
The Commissioner's Decision:
found that Condley had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity from the alleged onset date of December 5, 2012
through the date last insured of June 30, 2014. (Tr. at 376).
At Step Two, the ALJ found that Condley had the following
severe impairments: osteoarthritis and hypertension.
finding that her impairments did not meet or equal a listed
impairment (Tr. at 376), the ALJ determined that Condley had
the residual functional capacity (ARFC@) to perform the full
range of light work, except that she could only occasionally
climb, balance, crawl, kneel, stoop, or crouch. (Tr. at 377).
on her RFC, the ALJ concluded that Condley was able to
perform her past relevant work as a teacher's aide. (Tr.
at 379). Thus, the ALJ found that Condley was not disabled.
Standard of Review
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); seealso 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). While “substantial evidence” is that
which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a