United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
ERIN L. WIEDEMANN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Kimberly Coonfield, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), seeking judicial review of a decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(Commissioner) denying her claims for supplemental security
income (SSI) benefits under the provisions of Title XVI of
the Social Security Act (Act). In this judicial review, the
Court must determine whether there is substantial evidence in
the administrative record to support the Commissioner's
decision. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
protectively filed her current application for SSI on
November 21, 2011, alleging an inability to work due to
osteoarthritis involving multiple joints, obesity, chronic
skin infections, cervical cancer and anxiety/depression. (Tr.
303, 440). An administrative hearing was held on August 27,
2013, at which Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified.
written decision dated September 11, 2014, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity (RFC) to
perform light work with limitations. (Tr. 105-118). Plaintiff
requested review of the unfavorable decision by the Appeals
Council. (Tr. 250-252). The Appeals Council vacated the
ALJ's decision and remanded Plaintiff's case back to
the ALJ for further development on February 1, 2016. (Tr.
125-129). A supplemental administrative hearing was held on
August 30, 2016. (Tr. 50-79).
written decision dated August 9, 2017, the ALJ found that
during the relevant time period, Plaintiff had an impairment
or combination of impairments that were severe. (Tr. 13).
Specifically, the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: Osgood-Schlatter disease, osteoarthritis,
degenerative disk disease, obesity, posttraumatic stress
disorder (PTSD), a learning disability and borderline
personality disorder. However, after reviewing all of the
evidence presented, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's
impairments did not meet or equal the level of severity of
any impairment listed in the Listing of Impairments found in
Appendix I, Subpart P, Regulation No. 4. (Tr. 13). The ALJ
found Plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity
perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) except
that she can frequently handle and finger bilaterally and can
operate foot controls with her left lower extremity only
occasionally. The claimant is moderately limited in the
abilities to understand, remember and carry out simple
instructions, to make judgments on simple work related
decisions, to interact appropriately with supervisors and
coworkers and to respond appropriately to usual work
situations and changes in a routine work setting. A moderate
limitation means that the claimant has more than a slight
limitation, but she can still function in a satisfactory
manner. The claimant is also markedly limited in the
abilities to understand, remember and carry out complex
instructions, to make judgment on complex work related
decisions and to interact appropriately with the public. A
marked limitation means that the claimant has a serious
limitation and a substantial loss in the ability to function
effectively. In addition, the claimant is limited to work
that does not require reading above the eighth grade level.
(Tr. 17). With the help of a vocational expert, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff could perform work as a housekeeper, a
routing clerk and an office helper. (Tr. 26).
then requested a review of the hearing decision by the
Appeals Council, which denied that request on April 11, 2018.
(Tr. 1-5). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action. (Doc.
1). This case is before the undersigned pursuant to the
consent of the parties. (Doc. 5). Both parties have filed
appeal briefs, and the case is now ready for decision. (Docs.
Court's role is to determine whether the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole. Ramirez v.
Barnhart, 292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial
evidence is less than a preponderance but it is enough that a
reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
Commissioner's decision. The ALJ's decision must be
affirmed if the record contains substantial evidence to
support it. Edwards v. Barnhart, 314 F.3d 964, 966
(8th Cir. 2003). 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. Haley v. Massanari, 258 F.3d 742, 747
(8th Cir. 2001). In other words, if after reviewing the
record it is possible to draw two inconsistent positions from
the evidence and one of those positions represents the
findings of the ALJ, the decision of the ALJ must be
affirmed. Young v. Apfel, 221 F.3d 1065, 1068 (8th
Court has reviewed the entire transcript and the parties'
briefs. For the reasons stated in the ALJ's well-reasoned
opinion and the Government's brief, the Court finds
Plaintiff's arguments on appeal to be without merit and
finds that the record as a whole reflects substantial
evidence to support the ALJ's decision. Accordingly, the
ALJ's decision is hereby summarily affirmed and
Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed with prejudice.
See Sledge v. Astrue, No. 08-0089, 2008 WL ...