United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
DAVID W. SWAFFORD, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security ; Defendant.
ROSEANN A. KETCHMARK, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court is Plaintiff's appeal seeking judicial review
of a final decision of the Defendant Commissioner of Social
Security (“Commissioner”) denying disability
benefits. The decision of the Commissioner is
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 mental impairments: affective disorder,
anxiety disorder, and cognitive disorder. 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 (“Listing”). Additionally,
the ALJ found that despite his limitations, Plaintiff
retained the residual functional capacity (“RFC”)
to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels with
non-exertional limitations. Although the ALJ found the
Plaintiff unable to perform any past relevant work, the ALJ
found there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the
national economy that the Plaintiff can perform.
appeal, the issues raised by Plaintiff in support of
reversing the ALJ's decision are: (1) whether the ALJ
properly weighed the medical opinion evidence in the record
and (2) whether substantial evidence supports the ALJ's
assessing Plaintiff's RFC, the ALJ properly considered
and weighed the available medical opinion
evidence. See Wildman v. Astrue, 596 F.3d
959, 969 (8th Cir. 2010) (an ALJ must assess a claimant's
RFC based on all relevant evidence); Cox v. Astrue,
495 F.3d 614, 619 (8th Cir. 2007) (while the ALJ's
assessment must be supported by some medical evidence, it is
not limited to considering medical evidence exclusively). The
ALJ considered Plaintiff's testimony, Plaintiff's
medical treatment records, and the physicians' medical
opinions. Upon review of the parties' briefs, the record,
and applicable authority, the Court finds that substantial
evidence supports the ALJ's RFC determination and the
ALJ's determination that Plaintiff was not disabled
during the relevant time period.
IT IS THEREFORE, ORDERED that the decision of the
Commissioner is AFFIRMED.
 Nancy A. Berryhill became the Acting
Commissioner of Social Security on January 23, 2017, however
for consistency purposes, the case style in this legal action
remains as originally filed.
 The treating physician's, Dr.
Fristo, treatment notes dated May 7, 2015, through May 29,
2015, were not considered by the ALJ because the ALJ's
decision was made on March 23, 2015. The Appeals Council
correctly noted the new information from Dr. Fristo concerned
a later time, and therefore, is immaterial as to the
ALJ's March 23, 2015, decision. The Appeals Council
directed, and this Court agrees, that Plaintiff must reapply
for Social Security disability benefits for ...