United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Eastern Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED
VOLPE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
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.
Eddie Hawkins, has appealed the final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration to deny
his claim for disability insurance benefits. Both parties
have submitted appeal briefs and the case is now ready for 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.
history of the administrative proceedings and the statement
of facts relevant to this decision are contained in the
respective briefs and are not in serious dispute. Therefore,
they will not be repeated in this opinion except as
necessary. After careful consideration of the record as a
whole, I find the decision of the Commissioner is supported
by substantial evidence.
was fifty-eight at the time of the administrative hearing.
(Tr. 41.) He testified that he went as far as the twelfth
grade in school. (Id.) Mr. Hawkins has past relevant
work as a material handler. (Tr. 22.) The Administrative Law
Judge (ALJ) found Mr. Hawkins has a
combination of “severe” impairments, (Tr. 15),
but did not have an impairment or combination of impairments
meeting or equaling an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. §
404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 15-18.)
determined Mr. Hawkins had the residual functional capacity
(RFC) to perform a reduced range of medium work. (Tr. 18.)
Given this RFC, Mr. Hawkins is no longer able to perform his
past relevant work. (Tr. 22.) Therefore, the ALJ employed the
services of a vocational expert to determine whether jobs
existed that Mr. Hawkins could perform despite his
impairments. (Tr. 41-48.) Based in part on the vocational
expert testimony, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff was
capable of performing the jobs of driver helper sales route
and hand packer. (Tr. 23.) Accordingly, the ALJ determined
Mr. Hawkins was not disabled. (Tr. 23.)
support of his Complaint, Mr. Hawkins argues that, while
giving great weight to the opinions of Gary P. Nunn, Sr.,
M.D., the ALJ failed to fully incorporate all of Dr.
Nunn's findings when determining his RFC. (Doc. No. 13 at
7-9.) Specifically, Plaintiff says the ALJ failed to consider
Dr. Nunn's limitation on standing and walking without
interruption, balancing, driving, and environmental
regard to Dr. Nunn, the ALJ stated:
As for the opinion evidence, the undersigned gives great
weight to the opinion of consultative examiner, [Gary P.
Nunn, Sr., M.D.]. Dr. Nunn opined that the claimant could
lift and carry 50 pounds occasionally and 20 pounds
frequently. He could stand and walk for 3 hours and sit for 8
hours during the workday. He also opined that the claimant
did not need a cane for ambulation. Dr. Nunn did not report
that the claimant was using a cane at the examination and
further opined and that the claimant had no problems using
his hands or feet. This opinion is consistent with Dr.
Nunn's objective examination, which had normal findings,
and with other evidence in the record including mild findings
on diagnostic tests, and physical exams. Given the
claimant's unremarkable physical exams, the undersigned
further found that the claimant could stand and walk for six
hours in a workday. As such, the undersigned assigns this
opinion great weight.
(Tr. 22 (citation omitted).)
carefully reviewing the ALJ's assessment of this
evidence, I find no error. An ALJ is not required to adopt
all of a doctor's findings when assigning that
doctor's opinion great weight. Furthermore, the ALJ
stated, “Given the claimant's unremarkable physical
exams, the undersigned further found that the claimant could
stand and walk for six hours in a workday.”
(Id.) So, the ALJ gave specific consideration to the
medical records and diagnostic tests and concluded Plaintiff
could do more than what Dr. Nunn found. While this paragraph