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Faubus v. Berryhill

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

April 12, 2019

YOONJONG FAUBUS 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 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.

         I. Introduction:

         Plaintiff, Yoonjong Faubus (“Faubus”), applied for disability benefits on July 10, 2014, alleging disability beginning on October 1, 2009.[1] (Tr. at 21). After conducting a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denied her application. (Tr. at 30). The Appeals Council denied her request for review. (Tr. at 1). Thus, the ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. Faubus has filed a Complaint seeking judicial review from this Court.

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

         II. The Commissioner's Decision:

         The ALJ found that Faubus had not engaged in substantial gainful activity during the period from her alleged onset date of October 1, 2009 through the date last insured of December 31, 2014. (Tr. at 23). At Step Two, the ALJ found that Faubus has the following severe impairments: neuropathy, depression, diabetes, arthralgias, history of sensorium hearing loss, history of cognitive impairment, and history of headaches. (Tr. at 23).

         After finding that Faubus's impairment did not meet or equal a listed impairment (Tr. at 24), the ALJ determined that Faubus had the residual functional capacity (''RFC'') to perform the full range of light work, except that: (1) she cannot work from ropes, ladders, scaffolding, or unprotected heights; (2) she can perform simple, routine, and repetitive tasks with supervision that is simple, direct, and concrete; (3) she can have frequent interaction with her coworkers and supervisors, and occasional interaction with the public; and (4) she is limited to work at a hearing level of 3, consistent with work in an office setting, and would need to work in a workplace free of sounds such as factory, assembly work, or machinery noise. (Tr. at 25).

         The ALJ found that, based on her RFC, Faubus was unable to perform any past relevant work. (Tr. at 28). At Step Five, the ALJ relied on the testimony of a Vocational Expert ("VE") to find that, based on Faubus's age, education, work experience and RFC, jobs existed in significant numbers in the national economy that she could perform, including work as a price marker and cleaner in housekeeping. (Tr. at 30). Thus, the ALJ found that Faubus 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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