Day v. Social Security Adminiatration
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Honorable Erin L. Wiedemann on February 18, 2021. (src)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
CIVIL NO. 20-5110
ANDREW M. SAUL, Commissioner
Social Security Administration
Plaintiff, Rhonda Day, 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 disability and disability insurance benefits (DIB) and
supplemental security income (SSI) benefits 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. §
Plaintiff protectively filed her current applications for DIB and SSI on June 16, 2017,
alleging an inability to work since January 1, 2016, due to gastric bypass surgery with
complications; stomach ulcers; a collapsed disc in the lower back; sciatica nerve pain; back pain;
bipolar disorder; and depression. (Tr. 243-244, 455). An administrative video hearing was held
on May 16, 2019, at which Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified. (Tr. 212-240).
By written decision dated September 3, 2019, the ALJ found that during the relevant time
period, Plaintiff had an impairment or combination of impairments that were severe. (Tr. 198).
Specifically, the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: degenerative disc
disease (disorders of the back-discogenic and degenerative), diabetes mellitus, essential
hypertension, posttraumatic stress disorder, depressive disorder, and an anxiety disorder.
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. 198). The ALJ found Plaintiff
retained the residual functional capacity (RFC) to:
perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except she is
able to perform work where interpersonal contact is incidental to work performed;
complexity of tasks is learned and performed by rote, few variables, little judgment;
supervision required is simple, direct, and concrete.
(Tr. 199). With the help of a vocational expert, the ALJ determined Plaintiff could perform work
as a marking clerk, a housekeeper cleaner, and a routing clerk. (Tr. 203).
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 May 4, 2020. (Tr.
1-7). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action. (Doc. 2). 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).
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. 080089, 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).
DATED this 18th day of February 2021.
/s/ Erin L. Wiedemann
HON. ERIN L. WIEDEMANN
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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