United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division
JACQUELINE L. BURTS, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
NANNETTE A. BAKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
an action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for judicial review
of the Commissioner of Social Security's final decision
denying Jacqueline Burts' application for supplemental
security income under the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.
§ 416 et seq. Burts alleged disability due to
injury to reflex sympathetic dystrophy issues, leg spasms,
leg issues, anxiety, ankle instability, pain through spine
into left shoulder, arthritis, poor circulation, nerve
damage, and depression. (Tr. 223.) The parties have consented
to the exercise of authority by the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). [Doc.
9.] The Court has reviewed the parties' briefs and the
entire administrative record, including the hearing
transcripts and the medical evidence. The Court heard oral
argument in this matter on July 10, 2017. For the reasons set
forth below, the Court will affirm the Commissioner's
Issues for Review
presents one issue for review. She asserts that the
administrative law judge (ALJ) erred in his evaluation of the
opinion of her treating physician; therefore, the ALJ's
decision is not supported by substantial evidence and should
be reversed. The Commissioner asserts that the ALJ's
decision is supported by substantial evidence in the record
as a whole and should be affirmed.
Standard of Review
Social Security Act defines disability as an “inability
to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of
any medically determinable physical or mental impairment
which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can
be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 416(i)(1)(A).
standard of review is narrow. Pearsall v. Massanari,
274 F.3d 1211, 1217 (8th Cir. 2001). This Court reviews
decisions of the ALJ to determine whether the decision is
supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Substantial evidence is less than a
preponderance, but enough that a reasonable mind would find
adequate support for the ALJ's decision. Smith v.
Shalala, 31 F.3d 715, 717 (8th Cir. 1994). The court
determines whether evidence is substantial by considering
evidence that detracts from the Commissioner's decision
as well as evidence that supports it. Cox v.
Barnhart, 471 F.3d 902, 906 (8th Cir. 2006). The Court
may not reverse just because substantial evidence exists that
would support a contrary outcome or because the Court would
have decided the case differently. Id. If, after
reviewing the record as a whole, the Court finds it possible
to draw two inconsistent positions from the evidence and one
of those positions represents the Commissioner's finding,
the Commissioner's decision must be affirmed.
Masterson v. Barnhart, 363 F.3d 731, 736 (8th Cir.
2004). To determine whether the ALJ's final decision is
supported by substantial evidence, the Court is required to
review the administrative record as a whole to consider:
(1) The findings of credibility made by the ALJ;
(2) The education, background, work history, and age of the
(3) The medical evidence given by the claimant's treating
(4) The subjective complaints of pain and description of the
claimant's physical activity and impairment;
(5) The corroboration by third parties of the claimant's
(6) The testimony of vocational experts based upon prior
hypothetical questions which fairly set forth the