Cunningham v. Social Security Administration Commissioner
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Honorable Erin L. Setser on October 13, 2011. (adw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE,
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
Plaintiff, Karrisa Cunningham, 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 claim for a period 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. § 405(g).
Plaintiff protectively filed her application for DIB on March 2, 2007, alleging an inability
to work since March 6, 2006, due to heart surgery 2/11/03, pacemaker; endometriosis with pain;
chronic fatigue; left arm pain and limited range of motion; right arm limited range of motion
(due to pacemaker); and anxiety and panic attacks. (Tr. 143). Plaintiff maintained insured
status through September 30, 2007. (Tr. 4).1 An administrative hearing was held on August 28,
The ALJ stated that Plaintiff maintained insured status through June 30, 2007. However, on July 23, 2010, the
Appeals Council found “new and material evidence by the Appeals Council shows the claimant’s date last insured
was actually September 30, 2007.” The Appeals Council further found that the record indicated no objective
evidence of any significant worsening of the claimant’s impairments in the interim, and that the claimant has
returned to full-time work activity from her alleged onset date of disability and thereafter. (Tr. 5).
2008, at which Plaintiff appeared with counsel, and she and her mother testified. (Tr. 33-81).
By written decision dated October 15, 2008, the ALJ found that during the relevant time
period, Plaintiff had an impairment or combination of impairments that were severe - neurally
mediated syncope, anxiety and cardiac dysrhythmia. (Tr. 89). However, after reviewing all of
the evidence presented, he 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 1, Subpart
P, Regulation No. 4. (Tr. 89). The ALJ found Plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity
perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) except the claimant would
have been unable to have been exposed to extreme temperatures/humidity/microwaves
or have been within eighteen inches of magnets, spark plugs or certain electronic devices,
such as Ipods or speakers. Finally, the claimant could have performed only unskilled
work where interpersonal contact was incidental to the work performed.
(Tr. 90). With the help of a vocational expert (VE), the ALJ determined Plaintiff could perform
other work as a small product machine operator, small product assembler, and food order clerk.
Plaintiff then requested a review of the hearing decision by the Appeals Council, and on
July 23, 2010, the Appeals Council issued its decision finding that Plaintiff was not entitled to
a period of disability and to DIB through September 30, 2007, the date Plaintiff was last insured.
(Tr. 5). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action. (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. 13, 14).
Plaintiff was born in 1985, received her GED, and had two weeks of training as a CNA.
(Tr. 40, 139). Plaintiff previously worked at a day care center for seven months until March of
Plaintiff had a permanent pacemaker inserted at Washington Regional Medical Systems
in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Tr. 195). The medical records also reflect that on September 15,
2005, Plaintiff complained of “menses problems” to Creekside Center for Women, and that
endocervical cells were present. (Tr. 198-199).
On August 29, 2006, Plaintiff complained to her treating physician, Dr. Mark Olsen, of
neck pain, problems catching her breath and feeling nauseous. (Tr. 218). He assessed her with
muscle tension headache and anxiety syndrome. (Tr. 218).
On September 1, 2006, Plaintiff presented to Dr. James C. Cooper, of the Northwest
Arkansas Heart & Vascular Center, PA, complaining of recurrent lightheaded spells. (Tr. 201).
Plaintiff reported to Dr. Cooper that she never had syncope2 since she received her pacemaker,
and that she occasionally felt her pacemaker “pulsing.” Plaintiff also reported that she stopped
her beta blocker medicines over a year previously on her own volition. (Tr. 201). Dr. Cooper
assessed Plaintiff with:
History of malignant neurally mediated syncope.
No evidence of high atrial or ventricular rate episodes.
Normal pacemaker function.
“Pulsing” etiology undetermined.
On May 17, 2007, a Mental Diagnostic Evaluation was performed by Sheldon T.
McWilliams, Jr., Ph.D., a clinical psychologist. (Tr. 237-243). Dr. McWilliams reported that
Syncope - A temporary suspension of consciousness due to generalized cerebral ischemia; called also faint.
Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary 1845 (31 ed. 2007).
Plaintiff was prescribed Atenolol 25 mg, one tablet twice a day. (Tr. 238). However, Dr.
McWilliams reported that Plaintiff had a problem complying with the doctor’s orders, and that
Plaintiff said she took only one-half of a tablet at bedtime because she was fearful of developing
side effects. (Tr. 238). Plaintiff reported to Dr. McWilliams that she did not require any
assistance with any daily activities, and that after working seven months at a day care center, she
quit due to confrontations with her supervisor over her absenteeism. (Tr. 238). Dr. McWilliams
stated that it was clear that an anxiety disorder was present and associated with her cardiac
condition. (Tr. 241). He also stated that environmental stressor/factors could exacerbate the
anxiety to the level of panic. (Tr. 241). Dr. McWilliams diagnosed Plaintiff as follows:
Panic disorder without agoraphobia
Anxiety disorder due to cardiac problems with depressive features
No diagnosis on Axis II
(Tr. 241). Plaintiff also reported that she performed all daily activities autonomously, and
continued to participate in social groups when her anxiety was not excessive. Dr. McWilliams
felt that Plaintiff seemed capable of adequate and socially appropriate communication and
interaction despite her apprehensiveness and slight anxiety; that her ability to work consistently
in an efficient and productive manner was doubtful as suggested by her reported incapacity when
she experienced panic attacks; that she had the ability to sustain attention and concentration on
basic tasks except during a panic attack; that her persistence seemed adequate; and that she had
the capacity to complete work-like tasks within an acceptable time frame. (Tr. 241-42).
On May 23, 2007, a General Physical Examination was conducted by Dr. C.R. Magness.
(Tr. 209-215). At that time, Plaintiff’s medication was Atenolol. (Tr. 209). She reported chest
pain in her right pectoral area secondary to her pacemaker. (Tr. 210). All ranges of motion were
normal. (Tr. 212). Dr. Magness reported muscle weakness in her right upper extremity - a “1"
out of a scale of 1-5. (Tr. 213). Dr. Magness diagnosed Plaintiff as follows:
Malignant neurally mediated syncope
(Tr. 215). Dr. Magness reported that Plaintiff had moderate to severe limitations in her ability
to walk, lift and carry, and moderate ability to stand. (Tr. 215). He also reported that Plaintiff
would be a “good candidate for re-training - sedentary job.” (Tr. 215).
On June 7, 2007, a Physical RFC Assessment was completed by Dr. Ronald Crow. (Tr.
229-236). Dr. Crow concluded that Plaintiff could:
occasionally lift and/or carry (including upward pulling) 10 pounds; frequently lift and/or
carry (including upward pulling) less than 10 pounds; stand and/or walk (with normal
breaks) for a total of at least 2 hours in an 8-hour workday; sit (with normal breaks) for
a total of about 6 hours in an 8-hour workday; push and/or pull (including operation of
hand and/or foot controls) unlimited, other than as shown for lift and/or carry.
(Tr. 230). Dr. Crow also concluded that no postural, manipulative, visual, or communicative
limitations were established, and that Plaintiff should avoid hazards (machinery heights, etc.) syncope, neurally mediated. (Tr. 231-233). Dr. Crow concluded that the medical records
supported a sedentary RFC. (Tr. 236).
A Mental RFC Assessment was completed by Paula Lynch on June 21, 2007. (Tr. 237250). Dr. Lynch found that Plaintiff was not significantly limited in 13 out of 20 categories and
was moderately limited in 7 out of 20 categories. (Tr. 247-48). She further found that Plaintiff
was able to perform work where interpersonal contact was incidental to work performed, e.g.
assembly work; where complexity of tasks was learned and performed by rote, with few
variables and little judgment; and where supervision required was simple, direct and concrete.
“(unskilled).” (Tr. 249).
Also on June 21, 2007, Dr. Lynch completed a Psychiatric Review Technique form. (Tr.
251-264). In the report - Dr. Lynch found that Plaintiff had a moderate degree of limitation in:
restriction of activities of daily living; difficulties in maintaining social functioning; difficulties
in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; and had no episodes of decompensation, each
of extended duration. (Tr. 261) Dr. Lynch also found that the evidence did not establish the
presence of the “C” criterion. (Tr. 262). Dr. Lynch reported that Plaintiff was felt to retain
unskilled work capacity. (Tr. 263). Both the Physical RFC Assessment and Mental RFC
Assessment were affirmed as written. (Tr. 273-74).
On October 30, 2007, Plaintiff presented herself to Dr. Mark Olsen, complaining of
bumps on her vaginal area, and thought they might be razor burns. (Tr. 279). On November 5,
2007, a culture that was taken was positive for herpes simplex. (Tr. 280).
In a March 2, 2007 Disability Report-Adult- Plaintiff reported that at least four days of
each month, she was bedridden with heavy bleeding, clotting and severe cramping. (Tr. 143).
She also reported that her left arm and right arm had pain and limited range of motion. She
stated she had severe anxiety with panic attacks and had chronic, daily fatigue. She had anxiety
so severe that she had shortness of breath and could not “catch her breath.” As of the date of the
report, Plaintiff was only taking Atenonol for her heart condition. She tried Ultracet for pain,
but had to stop taking it due to side effects. (Tr. 147). She reported that she started having
“really bad periods in 9th and 10th grades” and quit the 11th grade to have heart surgery and a
pacemaker inserted. (Tr. 149). She also reported that she was in a motor vehicle accident on
June 15, 2005 and had a head injury. (Tr. 149).
In a Function Report-Adult-dated April 27, 2007, Plaintiff reported that she took care of
her husband, did cooking, cleaning, laundry, and some mornings packed her husband’s lunch.
(Tr. 152). She also reported that she and her husband took care of their dog. (Tr. 152). She
reported no problems with personal care, and went outside periodically throughout the day. She
drives a car, watches television, plays computer games, reads, and sometimes has a few friends
over to “hang out” and watch movies. (Tr. 155). She reported that she followed written and
spoken instructions very well, got along with authority figures fairly well, handled stress
moderately and handled changes in routine well. (Tr. 156-57).
In an April 27, 2007 report of Pain and Other Symptoms, Plaintiff stated she had not had
to discontinue a medication for her disability because of side effects. (Tr. 160). She also
reported that although most pain occurred around her menstrual cycle, occasional pain occurred
throughout the rest of the month. (Tr. 160).
At the hearing held on August 28, 2008, Plaintiff testified that she was currently in the
position of a leasing agent at an apartment complex. (Tr. 41). Although she had been doing this
on a part-time basis for a couple of months, she just began performing this position on a full-time
basis the week prior to the hearing. (Tr. 43). She stated that as part of her responsibilities, she
did clerical work at a desk, and was not required to be on her feet or do any lifting. (Tr. 41). She
stated that she sat at least six to seven of those hours a day, and received 20% off of her rent, on
top of her hourly wage of $9 an hour. (Tr. 42). She stated that her employer allowed her to stay
in the office so that she could get to her mother’s apartment, which was nearby, she was allowed
rest periods when she needed them, and she could go lie down when necessary. (Tr. 46). She
testified that she would be absent an average of four days a month because “I usually cannot get
out of bed when my cycle happens.” (Tr. 46).
Plaintiff testified that since her pacemaker was inserted, she had no blackouts, only
experienced dizzy and lightheaded spells. (Tr. 52). She also testified that she did not take
medication for the pain, and was supposed to take 25 milligrams of Atenolol twice a day, but
only took half a pill at night. (Tr. 53).
Plaintiff stated that she was capable of doing household chores as long as she spaced
them apart, and occasionally walked her dogs. (Tr. 57-58). She said that she could probably
walk a football field length at a slow pace. She said that she could not be around microwaves,
spark plugs, Ipods, or speakers. (Tr. 60). She cannot be within eighteen inches of an Ipod or it
would shut the pacemaker off. (Tr. 63). She said that she and her husband watched movies, and
sometimes went roller skating. (Tr. 64).
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 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).
It is well established that a claimant for Social Security disability benefits has the burden
of proving her disability by establishing a physical or mental disability that has lasted at least one
year and that prevents her from engaging in any substantial gainful activity. Pearsall v.
Massanari, 274 F. 3d 1211, 1217 (8th Cir. 2001); see also 42 U.S.C. §§423(d)(1)(A),
1382c(a)(3)(A). The Act defines “physical or mental impairment” as “an impairment that results
from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities which are demonstrable by
medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques.” 42 U.S.C. §§423(d)(3),
1382(3)(D). A Plaintiff must show that her disability, not simply her impairment, has lasted for
at least twelve consecutive months.
The Commissioner’s regulations require him to apply a five-step sequential evaluation
process to each claim for disability benefits: (1) whether the claimant had engaged in substantial
gainful activity since filing her claim; (2) whether the claimant had a severe physical and/or
mental impairment or combination of impairments; (3) whether the impairment(s) met or equaled
an impairment in the listings; (4) whether the impairment(s) prevented the claimant from doing
past relevant work; and (5) whether the claimant was able to perform other work in the national
economy given her age, education, and experience. See 20 C.F.R. §416.920. Only if the final
stage is reached does the fact finder consider the Plaintiff’s age, education, and work experience
in light of her residual functional capacity (RFC). See McCoy v. Schwieker, 683 F.2d 1138,
1141-42 (8th Cir. 1982); 20 C.F.R. §416.920.
Subjective Complaints and Credibility Analysis:
The ALJ was required to consider all the evidence relating to Plaintiff’s subjective
complaints including evidence presented by third parties that relates to: (1) Plaintiff’s daily
activities; (2) the duration, frequency, and intensity of her pain; (3) precipitating and aggravating
factors; (4) dosage, effectiveness, and side effects of her medication; and (5) functional
restrictions. See Polaski v. Heckler, 739 F.2d 1320, 1322 (8th Cir. 1984). While an ALJ may not
discount a claimant’s subjective complaints solely because the medical evidence fails to support
them, an ALJ may discount those complaints where inconsistencies appear in the record as a
whole. Id. As the Eighth Circuit has observed, “Our touchstone is that [a claimant’s] credibility
is primarily a matter for the ALJ to decide.” Edwards v. Barnhart, 314 F.3d 964, 966 (8th Cir.
After reviewing the administrative record, it is clear that the ALJ properly evaluated
Plaintiff’s subjective complaints and addressed all of Plaintiff’s allegations of pain. The ALJ
stated that after considering the evidence of record:
the undersigned finds that the claimant’s medically determinable impairments could
reasonably have been expected to produce the alleged symptoms: however, the
claimant’s statements concerning the intensity, persistence and limiting effects of these
symptoms are not credible to the extent they are inconsistent with the residual functional
capacity assessment for the reasons explained below.
(Tr. 91). The ALJ stated that the evidence failed to bear out Plaintiff’s alleged incapacitation
from all work activity from the alleged onset date through the date last insured, and even
thereafter. He also stated, and the medical records support, that Plaintiff’s syncope and/or
lightheadedness had not occurred to any significant degree since Plaintiff’s pacemaker was
inserted in 2003. (Tr. 91-92). The ALJ further found that although Plaintiff had a history of
anxiety, any limitations associated with that were accounted for in the RFC, and that no
corroborative objective evidence supported a finding that Plaintiff’s anxiety ever existed to a
disabling degree at any time from the alleged onset date and thereafter, particularly in light of
the fact that Plaintiff had recently returned to full-time work. (Tr. 92).
The Court believes Plaintiff’s daily activities are inconsistent with disabling impairments.
She reported being able to cook, clean, do laundry, drive, roller skate, and walk her dogs. She
also had no problems with personal care. Although Plaintiff discontinued taking Ultracet
because of the side effects, there is no indication that Plaintiff tried or requested different
medication for her pain. In fact, Plaintiff stopped her beta blocker medication on her own, and
was not fully compliant with the proper dosage of Altenolol.
“A failure to follow a
recommended course of treatment also weighs against a claimant’s credibility.” Guilliams v.
Barnhart, 393 F.3d 798, 802 (8th Cir. 2005) citing Gowell v. Apfel, 242 F.3d 793, 797 (8th Cir.
2001). Furthermore, Plaintiff reported that she discontinued taking the Ultracet because of the
side effects, but in her April 27, 2007 Social Security Disability Report - Pain and Other
Symptoms - she denied having to discontinue a medication because of side effects. (Tr. 160).
Dr. Magness, who conducted a general physical examination for the social security
administration, found Plaintiff had normal range of motion in her cervical and lumbar spine, and
all extremities. (Tr. 212). He only found muscle weakness in Plaintiff’s upper right extremity
to be a “1" on a scale of 1-5. He further found Plaintiff had only moderate to severe limitation
in her ability to walk, lift and carry, and moderate limitation in her ability to stand. Dr. Crow,
a non-examining physician, found Plaintiff would be able to do sedentary work, and should avoid
hazards (machinery, heights, etc.).
Although Plaintiff reported she suffered from anxiety/panic attacks, Plaintiff had no
history of formal mental health treatment as an adult, reporting receiving evaluation at age 17
to assess adjustment disorder with depressed mood. (Tr. 263). Dr. Sheldon T. McWilliams, Jr.,
a clinical psychologist, found that Plaintiff seemed capable of adequate and socially appropriate
communication and interaction despite her apprehensiveness and slight anxiety; that her ability
to work consistently in an efficient and productive manner was doubtful as suggested by her
reported incapacity when she experienced panic attacks; that she had the ability to sustain
attention and concentration on basic tasks except during a panic attack; that her persistence
seemed adequate; and that she had the capacity to complete work-like tasks within an acceptable
The ALJ gave controlling weight to the consultative physical and mental findings of Drs.
Magness and McWilliams, stating that their findings were consistent with the function-byfunction restrictions set out in the RFC. The Court finds this to be appropriate, especially since
they are not inconsistent with any other findings by Plaintiff’s other medical examiners.
Therefore, although it is clear that Plaintiff suffered from some severe impairments, Plaintiff has
not established that she was unable to engage in any gainful activity during the relevant time
period. See Craig v. Apfel, 212 F.3d 433, 436 (8th Cir. 2000) (holding that mere fact that
working may cause pain or discomfort does not mandate a finding of disability); Woolf v.
Shalala, 3 F.3d 1210, 1213 (8th Cir. 1993)(holding that, although plaintiff did have degenerative
disease of the lumbar spine, the evidence did not support a finding of disabled).
Neither the medical evidence nor the reports concerning Plaintiff’s daily activities
support Plaintiff’s contention of total disability beginning March 6, 2006. Therefore, based upon
the records as a whole, the Court finds there is substantial evidence to support the ALJ’s
B. RFC Assessment:
RFC is the most a person can do despite that person[‘s] limitations. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1545(a)(1). It is assessed using all relevant evidence in the record. Id. This includes
medical records, observations of treating physicians and others, and the claimant’s own
descriptions of her limitations. Guilliams v. Barnhart, 393 F.3d 798, 801 (8th Cir. 2005);
Eichelberger v. Barnhart, 390 F.3d 584, 591 (8th Cir. 2004). Limitations resulting from
symptoms such as pain are also factored into the assessment. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1545(a)(3). The
Eighth Circuit has held that a “claimant’s residual functional capacity is a medical question.”
Lauer v. Apfel, 245 F.3d 700, 704 (8th Cir. 2001). Therefore, an ALJ’s determination concerning
a claimant’s RFC must be supported by medical evidence that addresses the claimant’s ability
to function in the workplace.” Lewis v. Barnhart, 353 F.3d 642, 646 (8th Cir. 2003). “[T]he ALJ
is [also] required to set forth specifically a claimant’s limitations and to determine how those
limitations affect his RFC.” Id.
In the present case, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff would be able to perform sedentary
work with limitations. In making this determination, the ALJ gave controlling weight to the
assessments of Dr. Magness and Dr. McWilliams. There are no other medical records which are
inconsistent with their findings. The ALJ included the function-by-function restrictions in the
temperatures/humidity/microwaves or be within eighteen inches of magnets, spark plugs or
certain electronic devices, such as Ipods or speakers. He also included that Plaintiff could
perform only unskilled work where interpersonal contact was incidental to the work performed.
Plaintiff testified that when she had her menstrual cycle, she would be out of commission
for four days because her pain and bleeding were so severe. However, no physician indicated
that her menses problems were such that she was required to miss work for four days per month.
Based on the entire evidence of record, the Court finds substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s
Hypothetical Proposed to Vocational Expert:
In his first hypothetical to the VE, the ALJ stated:
Please assume a younger individual with a high school education; who can lift and carry
10 pounds occasionally, less than 10 pounds frequently. The individual can sit for about
six hours during an eight-hour workday. He can stand and walk for about two hours
during an eight-hour workday. The individual is to avoid all exposure to hazards such
as unprotected heights, heavy machinery; no exposure to extreme temperatures or
humidity. Consider the individual can perform unskilled work where interpersonal
contact is incidental to the work performed ...avoid all exposure to like heavy machinery,
but that the individual can have magnets, spark plugs, ipods, things of that nature, no
closer than 18 inches to her.....would there be jobs available?
In response, the VE answered that there would be jobs that the individual could perform, such
as small production machine operator; small product assembler; and a food order clerk.
Plaintiff argues that if Plaintiff’s limitations are juxtaposed to the jobs the ALJ said
Plaintiff could do, “she is exposed to modern cooking ware that uses microwaves; magnages
[sic] in small production assembly and all kinds of electrical devices in small product assembly
and small product operation.” Plaintiff states that she can only reasonably assume that there are
all types and kinds of electrical devices in all types of production and that the ALJ failed to
match his own limitations to the work that the VE described as work Plaintiff could perform.
The Court has reviewed the three positions the VE testified that Plaintiff would be able
to perform. All three positions provide the following details:
Exposure to Weather: No Present-Activity of condition does not exist
Extreme Cold: Not Present - Activity or condition does not exist
Extreme Heat: Not Present - Activity or condition does not exist
Wet and/or Humid: Not Present - Activity or condition does not exist
Vibration: Not Present - Activity or condition does not exist
Atmospheric Cond: Not Present - Activity or condition does not exist
Moving Mech. Parts: Not Present - Activity or condition does not exist
Electric Shock: Not Present - Activity or condition does not exist
High Exposed Places: Not Present - Activity or condition does not exist
Radiation: Not Present - activity or condition does not exist
Explosives: Not Present - Activity or condition does not exist
Toxic Caustic Chem: Not Present - Activity or condition does not exist
Other Env. Cond.: Not Present - Activity or condition does not exist.
Dictionary of Occupational Titles § § 209.567-014, 715.687-010, 692.685-266.
The Court does not believe there is a conflict between the Plaintiff’s limitations and the jobs the
ALJ said Plaintiff could do, which take into consideration the Plaintiff’s limitations..
Furthermore, in Blackmon v. Astrue, 730 F.Supp. 2d 867, 871 (N.D. Ill. 2010), Plaintiff
had a pacemaker implanted, and the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had the RFC to:
perform light work (sitting 6-8 hours and standing/walking at least 6 hours out of an 8hour workday, and lifting 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds occasionally), except that
he must avoid concentrated exposure to unprotected heights, moving and hazardous
machinery, pulmonary irritants, and temperature extremes.
Id. at 877. With the assistance of VE testimony, the ALJ found that Plaintiff could perform the
duties required for food prep, mail clerk, courier and packer positions, although the VE
expressed some doubt about whether someone with Plaintiff’s RFC limitations could perform
the duties required of a light cook. Id. at 884. The district court found that the ALJ “drew a
logical bridge from the evidence of record to her conclusion.” Id.
After thoroughly reviewing the hearing transcript along with the entire evidence of
record, the Court finds that the hypothetical the ALJ proposed to the VE fully set forth the
impairments which the ALJ accepted as true and which were supported by the record as a whole.
See Goff v. Barnhart, 421 F.3d 785, 794 (8th Cir. 2005).
Based on the foregoing, the Court finds that the ALJ’s decision is affirmed and Plaintiff’s
case is dismissed with prejudiced.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 13th day of October, 2011.
/s/ Erin L. Setser
HON. ERIN L. SETSER
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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