United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Southern Division
ROSEANN A. KETCHMARK, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court is Plaintiff Sharon Durham
(“Plaintiff”)'s appeal of the Commissioner of
Social Security (“Commissioner”)'s final
decision denying Plaintiff's application for Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the
Social Security Act (“the Act”), 42 U.S.C.
§§ 1601-1637. For the reasons below, the
Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.
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 [Commissioner's] conclusion.'” 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 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
of overview, the ALJ determined the Plaintiff suffered from
the following severe impairments: mental disorders variously
diagnosed as personality disorder, anxiety disorder,
borderline intellectual functioning, and organic mental
disorder; degenerative disc disease; and obesity. 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. Despite Plaintiff's
impairments, the ALJ found that Plaintiff retained the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform
light work with several exceptions and
limitations. The ALJ found Plaintiff incapable of
performing past relevant work as a nurse aide, laundry aide,
poultry boner, fast food cook, and fast food manager/trainee
but found there are jobs in significant numbers in the
national economy that Plaintiff can perform, such as a
housekeeping cleaner and mail sorter. Therefore, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff was not disabled, as defined in the Act,
from May 16, 2013, through the date of the ALJ's
appeal, the issues raised by Plaintiff's arguments in
support of reversing the ALJ's decision are: (1) whether
the ALJ properly weighed the medical opinion in the record,
and (2) whether substantial evidence supports the ALJ's
RFC determination. Upon review of the parties' briefs and
the record, the Court affirms the ALJ's decision and
finds the RFC determination is supported by substantial
particular, Plaintiff argues that after crediting the opinion
of consulting examiner, Dr. Sherry, the ALJ erred by failing
to either include in his RFC Dr. Sherry's opinion that
Plaintiff would not work well in an environment where there
are changes in personnel or explain why he did not include
this limitation into the RFC. However, Plaintiff's
argument is misguided. The ALJ's RFC determination is
consistent with his giving weight to Dr. Sherry's opinion
because the ALJ restricted Plaintiff to a task-oriented
setting where contact with others, including the public, is
infrequent. Infrequent contact with others minimizes the
relevancy of Plaintiff's ability to adapt to changes in
personnel. Additionally, Dr. Sherry also opined Plaintiff is
able to manage relationships at a basic level. Because the
ALJ's RFC determination is consistent with Dr.
Sherry's opinion, the Court finds no error on this point.
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 decision for the reasons set forth above.
THEREFORE, ORDERED that the decision of the Commissioner is
 Nancy A. Berryhill became the Acting
Commissioner of Social Security on January 23, 2017, however,
for consistency purposes, the case style in this action