United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MICHAEL W. GERARD, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,  Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CRITES-LEONI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Michael W. Gerard brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), seeking judicial review of the Social Security
Administration Commissioner's denial of his application
for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under
Title XVI of the Social Security Act.
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that,
despite Gerard's severe impairments, he was not disabled
as he had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform jobs that exist in significant
numbers in the national economy.
matter is pending before the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge, with consent of the parties, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(c). A summary of the entire record is
presented in the parties' briefs and is repeated here
only to the extent necessary.
following reasons, the decision of the Commissioner will be
protectively filed his application for SSI on October 15,
2012. (Tr. 236.) He alleged that he became disabled on
October 16, 2002,  due to problems with his right knee, right
elbow, shoulder, back, and feet; chronic gout; enlarged
prostate; and high blood pressure. (Tr. 236, 257.)
Gerard's claims were denied initially. (Tr. 142.)
Following an administrative hearing, Gerard's claims were
denied in a written opinion by an ALJ, dated September 26,
2014. (Tr. 14-22.) Gerard then filed a request for review of
the ALJ's decision with the Appeals Council of the Social
Security Administration (SSA), which was denied on December
2, 2015. (Tr. 6, 1-4.) Thus, the decision of the ALJ stands
as the final decision of the Commissioner. See 20
C.F.R. '' 404.981, 416.1481.
instant action, Gerard first claims that the ALJ
“failed to properly evaluate opinion evidence.”
(Doc. 18 at 3.) Gerard next argues that the ALJ “failed
to obtain evidence from a vocational expert.”
Id. at 11.
The ALJ's Determination
first stated that Gerard had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since his alleged onset date of October 15,
2012. (Tr. 16.)
concluded that Gerard had the following severe impairments:
degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine; degenerative
disc disease of the lumbar spine; gout; arthritic changes to
both feet; and right elbow heterotopic
ossification. Id. The ALJ found that Gerard did
not have an impairment or combination of impairments that
meets or equals in severity the requirements of any
impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix
1. (Tr. 17.)
Gerard's RFC, the ALJ stated:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform the full range of light work
as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b).
found that Gerard's allegations regarding his limitations
were not entirely credible. (Tr. 18.) In determining
Gerard's RFC, the ALJ indicated that he was assigning
“little weight” to the opinion of treating
physician Ana Danielyan, M.D. (Tr. 20.) The ALJ assigned
“some weight” to the opinion of state agency
medical consultant Kenneth R. Smith, M.D. Id.
further found that Gerard has no past relevant work.
Id. The ALJ applied the Medical-Vocational
Guidelines to find that there were jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that Gerard can
perform. (Tr. 21.) The ALJ therefore concluded that Gerard
has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social
Security Act, since October 15, 2012, the date the
application was filed.
ALJ's final decision reads as follows:
Based on the application for supplemental security income
protectively filed on October 15, 2012, the claimant is not
disabled under section 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security
A. Standard of Review
decision of the Commissioner must be affirmed if it is
supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Richardson v. Perales, 402
U.S. 389, 401 (1971); Estes v. Barnhart, 275 F.3d
722, 724 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial evidence is less than a
preponderance of the evidence, but enough that a reasonable
person would find it adequate to support the conclusion.
Johnson v. Apfel, 240 F.3d 1145, 1147 (8th Cir.
2001). This “substantial evidence test, ”
however, is “more than a mere search of the record for
evidence supporting the Commissioner's findings.”
Coleman v. Astrue, 498 F.3d 767, 770 (8th Cir. 2007)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
“Substantial evidence on the record as a whole . . .
requires a more scrutinizing analysis.” Id.
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
determine whether the Commissioner's decision is
supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole,
the eCourt must review the entire administrative record and
1. The credibility findings made by the ALJ.
2. The plaintiff's vocational factors.
3. The medical evidence from treating and consulting
4. The plaintiff's subjective complaints relating to
exertional and non-exertional activities and impairments.
5. Any corroboration by third parties of the plaintiff's
6. The testimony of vocational experts when required which is
based upon a proper hypothetical question which sets forth