Ridley v. Social Security Administration Commissioner
FINAL JUDGMENT REVERSING THE DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER AND REMANDING THIS CASE TO THE COMMISSIONER FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION PURSUANT TO SENTENCE FOUR of 42 U.S.C. 405(g). Signed by Honorable Mark E. Ford on November 16, 2020. (mjm)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
FORT SMITH DIVISION
BRENDA K. RIDLEY
CIVIL NO. 2:20-cv-2007-MEF
ANDREW M. SAUL, Commissioner
Social Security Administration
This cause is before the Court on the Plaintiff’s complaint for judicial review of an
unfavorable final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying her
claim for disability benefits. The parties have consented to entry of final judgment by the United
States Magistrate Judge under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). The Court, having reviewed
the administrative record, the briefs of the parties, the applicable law, and the parties having waived
oral argument, finds as follows, to-wit:
Consistent with the Court’s ruling from the bench, the decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security is reversed and remanded for further proceedings pursuant to sentence four of 42
U.S.C. § 405(g).
The Court does not find substantial evidence to support the ALJ’s RFC determination in
this case. The ALJ considered evidence of Plaintiff’s upper extremity impairment, concluding that
the impairments in her right upper extremity, resulting from a right elbow dislocation and carpal
tunnel syndrome, were severe; however, he dismissed the assessment of treating Nurse Practitioner
Christina Metcalf, who concluded Plaintiff could lift and carry less than 10 pounds and, sit, stand,
and walk about 5-6 hours in an 8-hour workday. Nurse Metcalf’s assessment is well supported by
her own exams, documenting a limited range of motion in Plaintiff’s right upper extremity, as well
as the exams of Dr. John Finck and Dr. Holly Jumper documenting the same. Dr. Jumper also
noted some limitation in Plaintiff’s fine motor movement, dexterity, and the ability to grasp objects
with her right hand.
Despite this evidence, the ALJ concluded Plaintiff could perform medium work with
frequent handling and fingering. Medium work requires the ability to lift and/or carry 25 pounds
frequently and 50 pounds occasionally. The term frequent is defined as an activity that occurs
between one-third and two-thirds of the time. The vocational expert testified that there would be
no medium level jobs available to the Plaintiff if she were unable to frequently handle and finger
with her right hand. As such, the Court does not find substantial evidence in the record to support
the ALJ’s RFC determination. Therefore, remand is necessary to allow the ALJ to reconsider
IT IS SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED on this 16th day of November 2020.
/s/ Mark E. Ford
HON. MARK E. FORD
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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