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.

Blackburn v. Berryhill

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

May 12, 2017

TAMMY D. BLACKBURN, 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 her application for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. 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 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 1965, and attended high school through the eleventh grade. R. at 36-37, 155. Plaintiff's prior work history includes sewing panels into caskets, serving as an assistant manager, working on assembly lines, and driving a forklift. R. at 40-45. In 2013, Plaintiff applied for disability and disability insurance benefits, alleging a disability onset date of July 11, 2012. R. at 14, 155-57. Plaintiff's application was denied, and she requested a hearing. R. at 88-93, 97-98. A hearing was held before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) in August 2014. R. at 31-75. On December 23, 2014, the ALJ determined Plaintiff was not disabled. R. at 14-25. Plaintiff appealed the decision to the Appeals Council, which denied her appeal. R. at 1-3.

         In reaching his decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: L4-S1 degenerative disc disease status post L4-S1 fusion, C5-6 degenerative disc disease, bilateral ankle tendonitis, migraines, residuals of right ulnar nerve transportation, and residuals of bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. R. at 16. The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following residual functional capacity (“RFC”):

[P]erform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except that she must have a sit/stand option at the worksite with the ability to change positions frequently, defined as not more often than every hour for one minute and then can return to the same position or a different position; she can climb stairs and ramps occasionally; she can never climb ladders or scaffolds, kneel, or crouch; she can stoop and crawl occasionally; pushing and pulling with arms and reaching in all directions is limited to frequent; pushing and pulling with legs is limited to occasional; handling/gross manipulation and fingering/fine manipulation is limited to frequent; she can never lift overhead; and she must avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold, vibration, and noise above level 3.

R. at 18. Based upon the RFC and the Vocational Expert's (“VE”) testimony, the ALJ concluded Plaintiff could perform past relevant work as cashier supervisor, and could also work as a cashier wrapper. R. at 23-24. Plaintiff now appeals the ALJ's decision to this Court.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff argues the ALJ's decision must be reversed because (1) the ALJ failed to accord adequate weight to Plaintiff's treating physician's opinion, (2) the ALJ erred in failing to consider Plaintiff's absenteeism, and (3) the ALJ erroneously discredited Plaintiff's subjective complaints.

         A. Treating Physician's Opinion

         Plaintiff claims the ALJ erred in affording little weight to the opinion of Plaintiff's treating physician, Dr. Dennis Robinson. Generally, a treating physician's opinion is given more weight than other sources in a disability proceeding. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(2). A treating physician's opinion may be disregarded if it is unsupported by clinical or other data or is contrary to the weight of the remaining evidence in the record. See Anderson, 696 F.3d at 793-94; Pena v. Chater, 76 F.3d 906, 908 (8th Cir. 1996). Ultimately, the ALJ must “give good reasons” to explain the weight given the treating physician's opinion. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(2); Anderson, 696 F.3d at 793.

         In August 2014, Dr. Robinson executed a form entitled “Residual Functional Capacity.” R. at 591-93. He opined Plaintiff could frequently lift and carry ten pounds; stand and/or walk with usual breaks for three hours in an eight-hour workday; sit with usual breaks for three hours in an eight-hour workday; should never climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl; has unlimited ability to see, speak, and hear; can occasionally reach, handle, finger, feel, push, or pull; cannot be around dangerous equipment or vibrations; will need to take unscheduled breaks between fifteen and twenty minutes in length every thirty ...


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.