Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Cowan v. Berryhill

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

April 26, 2019

MIRANDA N. COWAN PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, DEFENDANT

          PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

          JOE J. VOLPE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         INSTRUCTIONS

         This recommended disposition has been submitted to Chief United States District Judge Brian S. Miller. 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.

         RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         Plaintiff, Miranda Cowan, has appealed the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration to deny her claim for disability insurance benefits. Both parties have submitted briefs and the case is ready for a decision.

         A 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 Cir. 1996).

         In 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.

         Plaintiff is young - only thirty-five years old. (Tr. 89.) She has an eleventh-grade education (id.) and past relevant work as a nurse assistant. (Tr. 44.)

         The ALJ[1] found Ms. Cowan had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 15, 2015 - the alleged onset date. (Tr. 38.) She has “severe” impairments in the form of “spine disorder; migraine; affective disorder; and anxiety disorder.” (Id.) The ALJ further found Ms. Cowan 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.[2] (Tr. 38-40.)

         The ALJ determined Ms. Cowan had the residual functional capacity to perform a reduced range of light work given her physical and mental impairments. (Tr. 40.) Given her residual functional capacity, the ALJ determined Plaintiff could no longer perform her past relevant work. (Tr. 43-44.) The ALJ called upon on a vocational expert to help determine if Ms. Cowan could perform substantial gainful activity given her residual functional capacity. (Tr. 113-117.) Based in part on the vocational expert's testimony, the ALJ concluded Plaintiff could perform the jobs of content inspector, mailroom clerk, and warehouse checker. (Tr. 44-45.) Accordingly, the ALJ determined Ms. Cowan was not disabled. (Tr. 45.)

         The 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. 1-28.) Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint initiating this appeal. (Doc. No. 2.)

         In support of her Complaint, Plaintiff says, inter alia, the ALJ erred in failing to find her seizure disorder was a “severe” impairment. (Doc. No. 11 at 5, 9-10.) Plaintiff correctly argues, “There is very little discussion of the seizure disorder in the ALJ's written decision.” (Id. at 9.) However, there is also very little evidence to support Plaintiff's argument here. A “severe” impairment is one that significantly limits a claimant's physical or mental ability to do basic work activities. Gwathney v. Chater, 104 F.3d 1043, 1045 (8th Cir. 1997); Browning v. Sullivan, 958 F.2d 817, 821 (8th Cir. 1992); 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(c) (2007). It has “more than a minimal effect on the claimant's ability to work.” Hudson v. Bowen, 870 F.2d at 1396; accord, Kirby v. Astrue, 500 F.3d 705, 707 (8th Cir. 2007); Page v. Astrue, 484 F.3d 1040, 1043 (8th Cir. 2007).

(a) Non-severe impairment(s). An impairment or combination of impairments is not severe if it does not significantly limit your physical or mental ability to do basic work activities.
(b) Basic work activities. When we talk about basic work activities, we mean the abilities and aptitudes necessary to do most ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.