Davis v. Social Security Administration Commissioner
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Honorable Erin L. Wiedemann on November 29, 2017. (tg)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
CIVIL NO. 16-5146
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, 1 Commissioner
Social Security Administration
Plaintiff, Kema Davis, 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 supplemental security income (SSI) benefits under the
provisions of Title 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).
Plaintiff protectively filed her current application for SSI on May 14, 2013, alleging an
inability to work due to fibromyalgia, back pain, osteoarthritis, hyper thyroid, an enlarged liver,
depression, anxiety and migraines. (Tr. 85-86, 177). An administrative video hearing was
held on June 5, 2014, at which Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified. (Tr. 39-63).
By written decision dated January 27, 2015, the ALJ found that during the relevant
time period, Plaintiff had an impairment or combination of impairments that were severe. (Tr.
23). Specifically, the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: fibromyalgia,
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.
lumbago, migraine headaches, and obesity. 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. 26). The ALJ found Plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity
perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) except the claimant must
avoid concentrated exposure to hazards such as dangerous machinery and
(Tr. 26). With the help of a vocational expert, the ALJ determined Plaintiff could perform her
past relevant work as an automotive title clerk. (Tr. 32).
Plaintiff then requested a review of the hearing decision by the Appeals Council, which
after reviewing additional evidence submitted by Plaintiff denied that request on April 15,
2016. (Tr. 1-6). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action. (Doc. 1). This case is before the
undersigned pursuant to the consent of the parties. (Doc. 6). Both parties have filed appeal
briefs, and the case is now ready for decision. (Docs. 11, 12).
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).
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 29th day of November 2017.
/s/ Erin L. Wiedemann
HON. ERIN L. WIEDEMANN
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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