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Harrison v. Social Security Administration

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

July 11, 2019

JIMMY F. HARRISON PLAINTIFF
v.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION DEFENDANT

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         I. Procedures for filing Objections:

         This Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to District Judge Susan Webber Wright. You may file written objections to this Recommendation. If you file objections, they must be specific and must include the factual or legal basis for your objection.

         Your objections must be received in the office of the United States District Court Clerk within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation.

         If no objections are filed, Judge Wright can adopt this Recommendation without independently reviewing the record. By not objecting, you may also waive any right to appeal questions of fact.

         II. Introduction:

         Plaintiff, Jimmy F. Harrison (“Harrison”), applied for disability benefits on May 18, 2016, alleging a disability onset date of January 1, 2013. (Tr. at 32). After conducting a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (AALJ@) denied his application. (Tr. at 45). The Appeals Council denied his request for review. (Tr. at 1). The ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision of the Commissioner, and Harrison has requested judicial review.

         For the reasons stated below, this Court should affirm the decision of the Commissioner.

         III. The Commissioner's Decision:

         The ALJ found that Harrison had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date of January 1, 2013 (Tr. at 35). The ALJ found, at Step Two of the sequential five-step analysis, that Harrison had the following medically determinable impairments: history of chronic right knee MRSA abscess, obesity, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and history of alcohol and stimulant use disorder. Id.

         At Step Three, the ALJ determined that Harrison's impairments did not meet or equal a listed impairment. Id. Before proceeding to Step Four, the ALJ determined that Harrison had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work with restrictions: 1) he could only occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, and crouch; 2) he could only occasionally climb ramps and stairs, but no ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; 3) he could tolerate no temperature extremes or extremes of humidity; 4) he could understand, remember, and carry out simple and routine instructions and tasks; 5) he could regulate emotions, control behavior, and maintain well-being in a work setting with simple tasks and instructions as long as there are no fast-paced work production requirements such as assembly line work; 6) he could learn, recall, and use simple instructions and tasks that involve simple work-related decisions with few workplace changes or changes in routine; 7) he could perform jobs that involve working with the same types of things on a day-to-day basis; 8) he could interact frequently with supervisors, occasionally with coworkers, and only incidentally with the public; and 9) he should work with things rather than people. (Tr. at 37).

         The ALJ found that Harrison was unable to perform any past relevant work. (Tr. at 44). Next, the ALJ relied on the testimony of a Vocational Expert ("VE") to find that, considering Harrison's age, education, work experience and RFC, jobs existed in significant numbers in the national economy that he could perform, such as marking clerk and routing clerk. (Tr. at 45). Therefore, the ALJ found that Harrison was not disabled. Id.

         IV. Discussion:

         A. Standard of Review

         The Court's role is to determine whether the Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial evidence. Prosch v. Apfel, 201 F.3d 1010, 1012 (8th Cir. 2000). "Substantial evidence" in this context means less than a preponderance but more than a scintilla. Slusser v. Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir. 2009). In other words, it is "enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the ALJ's decision." Id. (citation omitted). The Court must consider not only evidence that supports the Commissioner's decision, but also evidence that supports a contrary outcome. The Court cannot reverse the decision, however, “merely because substantial ...


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