United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
LAWRENCE O. HARRIS PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
O. Harris (“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 applications for a period of
disability, Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”), and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI of the Act.
to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3)
(2009), the Honorable Susan O. Hickey referred this case to
this Court for the purpose of making a report and
recommendation. In accordance with that referral, and after
reviewing the arguments in this case, this Court recommends
Plaintiff's case be AFFIRMED.
protectively filed his disability applications on January 7,
2016. (Tr. 15). In his applications, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and
hearing voices. (Tr. 272). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of
March 31, 2015. (Tr. 15). These applications were denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. Thereafter,
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, and this
hearing request was granted. (Tr. 52-90).
administrative hearing was held on August 16, 2017 in Hot
Springs, Arkansas. (Tr. 52-90). At this hearing, Plaintiff
was present and was represented by Don Chaney. Id.
Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Diane
Smith testified at this hearing. Id. At this
hearing, Plaintiff testified he was fifty-eight (58) years
old, which is defined as a “person of advanced
age” under 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(e) (2008) and 20
C.F.R. § 404.1563(e) (2008). (Tr. 57). As for his
education, Plaintiff testified he had graduated from high
school. (Tr. 58).
March 26, 2018, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision
denying Plaintiff's disability applications. (Tr. 12-26).
In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured
status requirements of the Act through December 31, 2020.
(Tr. 18, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not
engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”)
since March 31, 2015, his alleged onset date. (Tr. 18,
Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff has the following
severe impairments: schizophrenia, anxiety, and affective
disorders. (Tr. 18, Finding 3). Despite being severe, the ALJ
determined those impairments did not meet or medically equal
the requirements of any of the Listings of Impairments in
Appendix 1 to Subpart P of Regulations No. 4
(“Listings”). (Tr. 18-20, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 20-24, Finding 5). First, the ALJ
evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and found his
claimed limitations were not entirely credible. Id.
Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the RFC to
perform the following:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c) lifting up to 50 pounds
occasionally 25 pounds frequently; sitting six to eight
hours; standing and walking six to eight hours; unskilled
rote activities; understand, remember, and follow concrete
instructions; superficial contact with supervisors and
coworkers; no work with the public.
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 24, Finding 6). Based upon his work
experience and his RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff was
unable to perform any of his PRW. Id. The ALJ then
considered whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform
other work existing in significant numbers in the national
economy. (Tr. 24-25). The VE testified at the administrative
hearing regarding this issue. Id. Based upon this
testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity
to perform work as a skin lifter (poultry) (unskilled) with
33, 000 such jobs in the national economy and machine
packager (unskilled) with 34, 000 such jobs in the national
economy. (Tr. 25). Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to
perform this other work, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not
been under a disability, as defined in the Act, from March
31, 2015 through the date of his decision or through March
26, 2018. (Tr. 25, Finding 11).
Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council's review of the
ALJ's decision. On August 22, 2018, the Appeals Council
denied this request for review. (Tr. 1-6). On October 10,
2018, Plaintiff file the current appeal. ECF No. 1. Both
Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 11-12. 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) (2010); 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 ...