United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
CHARLES E. PITTS PLAINTIFF
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
following Recommended Disposition has been sent to United
States District Judge Brian S. Miller. You may file written
objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do
so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the
factual and/or legal basis for your objections; and (2) be
received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days
of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the
right to appeal questions of fact.
Charles E. Pitts (“Pitts”), applied for
disability benefits on June 6, 2016, alleging disability
beginning on June 15, 2014. (Tr. at 11). After conducting a
hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
denied his application. (Tr. at 18). The Appeals Council
denied Pitts' request for review. (Tr. at 1). Thus, the
ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision of the
Commissioner. Pitts has filed a Complaint seeking judicial
reasons stated below, the Court concludes that the
Commissioner's decision should be affirmed.
The Commissioner's Decision:
found that Pitts had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since his alleged onset date of December 5, 2014.
(Tr. at 14). At Step Two, the ALJ found that Pitts has the
following severe impairments: disorder of the back and
gluteal bursitis bilaterally. Id.
finding that Pitts' impairments did not meet or equal a
listed impairment (Tr. at 14), the ALJ determined that Pitts
had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to
perform the full range of light work, except that he could
only occasionally climb ladders, ramps, stairs, ropes, or
scaffolds, and could only occasionally balance, stoop, kneel,
crouch, or crawl. (Tr. at 15).
on Pitts' RFC and testimony from a Vocational Expert
(“VE”), the ALJ concluded that Pitts was able to
perform his past work of wastewater treatment plant operator
or wastewater treatment plan instructor. (Tr. at 17). Thus,
the ALJ held that Pitts was not disabled. Id.
Standard of Review The 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 whether it is based on legal error. Miller v.
Colvin, 784 F.3d 472, 477 (8th Cir. 2015); see
also 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). While
“substantial evidence” is that which a reasonable
mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion,
“substantial evidence on the record as a whole”
requires a court to engage in a more scrutinizing analysis:
“[O]ur review is more than an examination of the record
for the existence of substantial evidence in support of the
Commissioner's decision; we also take into account
whatever in the record fairly detracts from that
decision.” Reversal is not warranted, however,
“merely because substantial evidence would have
supported an opposite decision.”
Reed v. Barnhart, 399 F.3d 917, 920 (8th Cir. 2005)
not the task of this Court to review the evidence and make an
independent decision. Neither is it to reverse the decision
of the ALJ because there is evidence in the record which
contradicts his findings. The test is whether there is
substantial evidence in the ...