United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division
ERIN L. WIEDEMANN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Rex Pruitt, 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 8, 2014, alleging an inability to work since August
6, 2014, due to back and neck problems. (Tr. 110, 125). For
DIB purposes, Plaintiff maintained insured status through
December 31, 2018. (Tr. 110, 125). An administrative hearing
was held on December 9, 2015, at which Plaintiff and a
vocational expert testified. (Tr. 88-107). Leisa Stevens,
Plaintiff's sister, was also present and testified. (Tr.
written decision dated December 27, 2016, the ALJ found that
during the relevant time period, Plaintiff had a severe
impairment of spine disorder. (Tr. 68). However, after
reviewing all of the evidence presented, the ALJ determined
that Plaintiff's impairment 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. 68). The ALJ found that Plaintiff retained the residual
functional capacity (RFC) to perform light work as defined in
20 CFR 404.1567(b), except Plaintiff was able to occasionally
climb ramps and stairs; occasionally climb ladders, ropes,
and scaffolds; frequently balance; and occasionally stoop,
kneel, crouch and crawl. (Tr. 68-69). With the help of a
vocational expert (VE), the ALJ determined that Plaintiff was
able to perform his past relevant work as a meter reader.
(Tr. 70). The ALJ concluded that the Plaintiff had not been
under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act,
from August 6, 2014, through the date of the decision. (Tr.
then requested a review of the hearing decision by the
Appeals Council, which after reviewing additional medical
evidence submitted by the Plaintiff, denied that request on
November 17, 2017. (Tr. 1-6). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed
this action. (Doc. 1). This case is before the undersigned
pursuant to the consent of the parties. (Doc. 7). Both
parties have filed appeal briefs, and the case is now ready
for decision. (Docs. 13, 14).
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 4816675
(W.D. Mo. Oct. 31, 2008) (summarily affirming ALJ's
denial of disability benefits), aff'd, 364
Fed.Appx. 307 (8th Cir. 2010).
SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED.
 Nancy A. Berryhill, has been appointed
to serve as acting Commissioner of Social Security, and is
substituted as Defendant, pursuant to Rule 25(d)(1) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
 With respect to the additional
evidence from the relevant time period that was submitted to
the Appeals Council, the Appeals Council made the following
determination, “We find this evidence does not show a
reasonable probability that it would change the outcome of
the decision. We did not consider and exhibit this
evidence.” The Court notes that, here, as the Court
found in Benoit v. Berryhill, although the Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review and
indicated that it did not consider or exhibit the evidence,
the Appeals Council's decision reflects that the Appeals
Council received the additional records; that it reviewed
these records; ...