Wright v. Colvin
ORDER affirming decision of Commissioner re 5 SOCIAL SECURITY COMPLAINT. Signed on 9/18/2017 by District Judge Roseann Ketchmark. (Stout, Courtney)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
TOMMY D. WRIGHT,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,1
Before the Court is Plaintiff’s appeal seeking judicial review of a final decision of the
Defendant Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying supplemental security
income and disability insurance benefits. The decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.
Standard of Review
The Court’s review of the Commissioner’s decision to deny disability benefits is limited
to determining if the decision “complies with the relevant legal requirements and is supported by
substantial evidence in the record as a whole.”
Halverson v. Astrue, 600 F.3d 922, 929
(8th Cir. 2010) (quoting Ford v. Astrue, 518 F.3d 979, 981 (8th Cir. 2008)); see also
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). “Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance of the evidence, but is
‘such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind would find adequate to support the
Grable v. Colvin, 770 F.3d 1196, 1201 (8th Cir. 2014)
(quoting Davis v. Apfel, 239 F.3d 962, 966 (8th Cir. 2001)). In determining whether existing
evidence is substantial, the Court takes into account evidence that both supports and detracts
from the Administrative Law Judge’s (“ALJ”) findings. Cline v. Colvin, 771 F.3d 1098, 1102
(8th Cir. 2014) (quotation marks omitted). “If the ALJ’s decision is supported by substantial
evidence, [the Court] may not reverse even if substantial evidence would support the opposite
Nancy A. Berryhill became the Acting Commissioner of Social Security on January 23, 2017,
however for consistency purposes, the case style in this legal action remains as originally filed.
outcome or [the Court] would have decided differently.” Smith v. Colvin, 756 F.3d 621, 625
(8th Cir. 2014) (quoting Davis, 239 F.3d at 966). The Court does not re-weigh the evidence
presented to the ALJ.
Guilliams v. Barnhart, 393 F.3d 798, 801 (8th Cir. 2005)
(citing Baldwin v. Barnhart, 349 F.3d 549, 555 (8th Cir. 2003)).
The Court should “defer
heavily to the findings and conclusions of the [Commissioner].” Hurd v. Astrue, 621 F.3d 734,
738 (8th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted).
By way of overview, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff suffers from the following severe
impairments: post right rotator cuff repair, degenerative disc disease, borderline intellectual
functioning, and an affective disorder. The ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the following nonsevere impairments: hypertension, hepatitis C, and substance abuse disorders. However, the ALJ
found that none of Plaintiff’s impairments, whether considered alone or in combination, meet or
medically equal the criteria of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Pt. 404. Subpt. P, App. 1
(“Listing”). Additionally, the ALJ found that, despite his limitations, Plaintiff retained the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work with limitations. Although the ALJ
found Plaintiff unable to perform any past relevant work, the ALJ found there are jobs that exist
in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff can perform, such as a wrapping
machine operator, collator operator, or electrical assembler. Therefore, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff was not disabled, as defined in the Act, from August 2, 2013, through the date of the
In Plaintiff’s appeal of the ALJ’s decision, Plaintiff’s strongest argument is whether
substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s conclusion that Plaintiff’s impairments do not meet the
requirements of Listing 12.05(C). Plaintiff’s argument, however, is not persuasive. Listing
12.05(C) requires a claimant to demonstrate, “significantly sub-average general intellectual
functioning with deficits in adaptive functioning.” Scott v. Berryhill, 855 F.3d 853, 856 (8th Cir.
2017) (citing 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt. P, App. 1, §12.05(C)) (internal quotations omitted).
Here, Dr. Israel found Plaintiff is able to understand and remember instructions, maintain
concentration and persistence with tasks, interact socially, and adapt to a work-related
environment. The consultative psychologist assessed the Plaintiff with a Global Assessment of
Functioning (“GAF”) of sixty-five (65), indicating mild symptoms.
evidence supports the ALJ’s determination that Plaintiff’s impairments did not meet the criteria
for Listing 12.05(C).
Upon review of the parties’ briefs and the record, Plaintiff’s other
arguments are without merit.
Having carefully reviewed the record before the Court and the parties’ submissions on
appeal, the Court concludes that substantial evidence on the record as a whole supports the ALJ’s
IT IS THEREFORE, ORDERED that the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.
s/ Roseann A. Ketchmark
ROSEANN A. KETCHMARK, JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DATED: September 18, 2017
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