Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Winkler v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

April 3, 2017

DENNIS WINKLER, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, [1]Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER AND OPINION AFFIRMING COMMISSIONER'S FINAL DECISION DENYING BENEFITS

          ORTRIE D. SMITH, SENIOR JUDGE

         Pending is Plaintiff's appeal of the Commissioner of Social Security's final decision denying his application for disability and disability insurance benefits. For the following reasons, the Commissioner's decision is affirmed.

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Court's review of the Commissioner's decision is limited to a determination whether the decision is “supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance but…enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the conclusion.” Andrews v. Colvin, 791 F.3d 923, 928 (8th Cir. 2015) (citations omitted). “As long as substantial evidence in the record supports the Commissioner's decision, we may not reverse it because substantial evidence exists in the record that would have supported a contrary outcome, or because we would have decided the case differently.” Cline v. Colvin, 771 F.3d 1098, 1102 (8th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted). Though advantageous to the Commissioner, this standard also requires that the Court consider evidence that fairly detracts from the final decision. Anderson v. Astrue, 696 F.3d 790, 793 (8th Cir. 2015) (citation omitted). Substantial evidence means “more than a mere scintilla” of evidence; rather, it is relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Gragg v. Astrue, 615 F.3d 932, 938 (8th Cir. 2010).

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was born in 1950, and completed two years of college. R. at 94, 131. His prior work experience includes truck driving and process serving. R. at 146. Plaintiff applied for disability and disability insurance benefits in November 2012, alleging he became disabled on December 31, 2005. R. at 12, 94-100. Plaintiff's application was denied, and he requested a hearing. On August 7, 2014, a video hearing was held before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”). R. at 22-30. On March 2, 2015, the ALJ issued her decision, finding Plaintiff was not disabled. R. at 12-17.[2]

In reaching her decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff had chronic liver disease and affective disorders, but concluded Plaintiff's impairments did not “significantly limited the ability to perform basic work-related activities for 12 consecutive months.” Id. at 14-17. Because these impairments were not severe, Plaintiff was not disabled. Id. Plaintiff appealed the ALJ's decision to the Appeals Council, which dismissed his appeal in April 2016. R. at 1-3.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff contends the Commissioner's decision should be reversed because (a) the ALJ did not apply the Polaski factors to explain why Plaintiff was not “entirely credible, ” and (b) the ALJ failed to fully develop the record.

         A. Plaintiff's Credibility

         Plaintiff argues the ALJ did not apply the Polaski factors when she analyzed Plaintiff's credibility. The familiar standard for analyzing a claimant's subjective complaints is set forth in Polaski v. Heckler, 739 F.2d 1320 (8th Cir. 1984):

While the claimant has the burden of proving that the disability results from a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, direct medical evidence of the cause and effect relationship between the impairment and the degree of claimant's subjective complaints need not be produced. The adjudicator may not disregard a claimant's subjective complaints solely because the objective medical evidence does not fully support them.
The absence of an objective medical basis which supports the degree of severity of subjective complaints alleged is just one factor to be considered in evaluating the credibility of the testimony and complaints. The adjudicator must give full consideration to all of the evidence presented relating to subjective complaints, including the claimant's prior work record, and ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.