Harmon v. Social Security Administration
ORDER adopting the 13 proposed findings and recommended disposition; and remanding this case for further administrative proceedings. Signed by Chief Judge Brian S. Miller on 4/25/2013. (kdr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
CAROL LYNN HARMON
CASE NO. 4:12CV00539 BSM
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,
Social Security Administration
The proposed findings and recommended disposition [Doc. No. 13] (“RD”) submitted
by United States Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe and objections thereto have been reviewed. For
the reasons discussed below, the RD is adopted in part and this case is remanded for further
The RD recommends reversal of the Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ) determination
that plaintiff Carol Harmon is not disabled. The Commissioner argues that this
recommendation is erroneous because Judge Volpe did not apply the proper standard of
review, which asks whether the ALJ’s decision is supported by substantial evidence on the
record as a whole. The Commissioner claims Judge Volpe instead determined reversal is
appropriate because there was also substantial evidence to conclude that Harmon was
This argument misunderstands the RD. What Judge Volpe concluded is that the
ALJ’s determination gave “no weight” to either of Harmon’s treating doctors and is not
supported by the record as a whole given the MRI evidence and Harmon’s treatment history.
The RD applies the proper standard of review and Judge Volpe’s recommendation to reverse
the ALJ’s disability determination is hereby adopted.
The recommendation in the RD that the case be remanded for calculation of disability
benefits, however, is not adopted.
Generally, when the ALJ’s denial of benefits is
determined to be improper on appeal, the district court, out of “abundant deference to the
ALJ,” remands the case for further administrative proceedings. Buckner v. Apfel, 213 F.3d
1006, 1011 (8th Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The court will
enter an immediate finding of disability and remand for calculation of benefits “only if the
record overwhelmingly supports such a finding.” Id. (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). Here, the record does not overwhelmingly support a finding of disability.
Therefore, for the reasons stated in the RD, the ALJ’s finding that Harmon is not
disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act is reversed because it is not supported
by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. Because there is not overwhelming
evidence of disability, the case is remanded for further administrative proceedings.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 25th day of April 2013.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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