United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
ERIN L. WIEDEMANN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Thomas Baker, 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 his claims for a period of disability
and disability insurance benefits (DIB) under the provisions
of Title II 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.
protectively filed his current application for DIB on
September 3, 2015, alleging an inability to work since May 3,
2014, due to bilateral L-5 spondylosis, chronic low back
pain, asthma, high blood pressure, and irritable bowel
syndrome. (Tr. 323, 436). An administrative hearing was held
on February 6, 2017, at which Plaintiff appeared with counsel
and testified. (Tr. 280-306).
written decision dated November 1, 2017, the ALJ found that
during the relevant time period, Plaintiff had an impairment
or combination of impairments that were severe. (Tr. 53).
Specifically, the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: degenerative disc disease (disorder of
the back-discogenic and degenerative), asthma, anxiety
disorder, affective disorder and obesity. 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. 54). The ALJ found Plaintiff retained the residual
functional capacity (RFC) to:
perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a)
except the claimant can occasionally climb ramps, stairs,
ladders, ropes and scaffolds. He can occasionally balance,
stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl. The claimant must avoid
concentrated exposure to extreme heat and cold, wetness,
humidity, fumes, odors, dust, gases and poorly ventilated
areas. He is able to perform work where interpersonal contact
is incidental to the work performed. The complexity of tasks
is learned and performed by rote, few variables and little
judgment. Supervision required is simple, direct and
(Tr. 55). With the help of a vocational expert, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff could perform work as a document
preparer, an addresser, and a pari-mutual ticket checker.
then requested a review of the hearing decision by the
Appeals Council, which after reviewing additional evidence
submitted by Plaintiff denied that request on July 26, 2018.
(Tr. 1-7). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action. (Doc.
1). This case is before the undersigned pursuant to the
consent of the parties. (Doc. 8). 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 Cir. 2000).
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 4816675
(W.D. Mo. Oct. 31, 2008) (summarily affirming ALJ's
denial of disability benefits), aff'd, 364
Fed.Appx. 307 (8th Cir. 2010).
 Andrew M. Saul, has been appointed to
serve as Commissioner of Social Security, and is substituted
as Defendant, pursuant to Rule 25(d)(1) of the Federal ...