Puplava-McDaniel v. Social Security Administration Commissioner
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER and Plaintiffs case is dismissed with prejudice. Signed by Honorable Erin L. Wiedemann on September 12, 2017. (tg)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
JASMINE J. PUPLAVA-McDANIEL
CIVIL NO. 5:16-CV-3032
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, 1 Acting Commissioner,
Social Security Administration
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT
Plaintiff, Jasmine J. Puplava-McDaniel, 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 her claims for a period of child’s insurance benefits
(CIB) and supplemental security income (SSI) under the provisions of Titles II and XVI 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. § 405(g).
On April 25, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for child’s insurance benefits based on
disability and also protectively filed her current application for SSI. Plaintiff alleges a
disability onset date of August 1, 2012, due to a broken back and fractured hip caused by a
motor vehicle accident in 2009. (Tr. 70, 80, 92, 105). An administrative hearing was held on
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.
September 23, 2014, at which Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s husband, and a vocational expert testified.
By written decision dated January 5, 2015, the ALJ found that during the relevant time
periods, Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: residuals of injuries from a motor
vehicle accident with compression fractures of thoracic spine, and generalized anxiety. (Tr.
However, after reviewing all of the evidence presented, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff’s impairments 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. 13-14).
The ALJ found that Plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity (RFC) to:
perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 413.967(b) except
she is limited to jobs involving simple tasks and simple instructions, and only
incidental contact with the public.
(Tr. 14-19). The Plaintiff has no past relevant work2, but considering the claimant’s age,
education, work experience, RFC, and the testimony of the vocational expert, the ALJ
determined that Plaintiff was capable of performing work as a housekeeper, machine tender,
and inspector. (Tr. 19-20).
Plaintiff then requested a review of the hearing decision by the Appeals Council, which
denied that request on February 17, 2016. (Tr. 1-3). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action
on March 17, 2016. (Doc. 1). This case is before the undersigned pursuant to the consent of
the parties. (Doc. 5). Both parties have filed appeal briefs, and the case is now ready for
decision. (Docs. 14, 15).
This 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
The Plaintiff was previously employed as a housekeeper, a sewing machine operator, and a car hop, but this past work did
not rise to the level of substantial gainful activity. (Tr. 12, 35-36, 54-55).
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 Cir. 2000).
The 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).
IT IS SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED this 12th day of September, 2017.
/s/ Erin L. Wiedemann
HON. ERIN L. WIEDEMANN
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?