Garner v. Social Security Administration
ORDER affirming the decision of the Commissioner and dismissing plaintiff's 2 Complaint with prejudice. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 3/21/13. (kpr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
MICHAEL SHANE GARNER
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner,
Social Security Administration
Gamer filed for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security
income in March 2009. The Social Security Administration denied his claim
after a hearing and denied Gamer's request for appellate review. So Gamer's
appeal to this Court is ripe. Gamer says that the Commissioner's final nodisability decision is unsupported by substantial evidence because the ALJ
ignored Gamer's obesity when relying on the Medical-Vocational Guidelines.
Document No. 13, at 4. And he says the ALJ failed to develop the record
enough to permit a fair determination of disability. Document No. 13, at 5.
This Court's review is limited to whether, considering both the
supporting evidence and contrary evidence of record, substantial evidence
supports the Commissioner's decision. Prosch v. Apfel, 201 F.3d 1010, 1012
(8th Cir. 2000). The ALJ found that Gamer had four severe impairments: left
knee pain status post ACL repair; degenerative disc disease of the lumbar
spine; morbid obesity; and diabetes. R. at 12. He found that, notwithstanding
those impairments, Garner could perform the full range of sedentary work.
R. at 13. Because Garner had finished high school, and was only 37 years old
when he supposedly became disabled, the ALJ relied on Medical-Vocational
Rule 201.28 to find that Garner was able to do some jobs.
This is not a close case. The ALJ found that obesity was a severe
impairment because it" cause[ d] some limitations in [Garner's] ability to do
basic work activities due to complicating [Garner's] knee problem." R. at 15.
Garner is 5 18" tall. He weighed 269 pounds when he applied for benefits in
March 2009. R. at 15. He had weighed 295 pounds in September 2008, when
his knee surgeon discussed limiting work activities -lifting no more than 40
or 50 pounds and taking care not to run or jump. R. at 151 & 153. Months
earlier, while Garner was still in recovery, his surgeon had cleared him for
sedentary work. R. at 157. The record strongly supports the ALJ' s conclusion
that obesity did not limit Garner's capacity for the full range of sedentary
Gamer also argues that the ALJ failed to fairly develop the record at the
fourteen-minute hearing. But he does not identify how a longer hearing
would have benefitted him. And the medical evidence of record was enough
for the ALJ to determine Gamer's residual functional capacity. Anderson v.
Shalala, 51 F.3d 777, 779 (8th Cir. 1995). The Commissioner's decision is
D.P. Marshall Jr. V
United States District Judge
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