United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
DENNIS L. ARRINGTON, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. 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 supplemental
security income and disability insurance benefits. The
decision of the Commissioner 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 that Plaintiff suffers from
the following severe impairments: diabetes mellitus; history
of coronary artery disease (with placement of implantable
cardiac defibrillator); osteoarthritis of multiple joints;
obstructive sleep apnea; and obesity. The ALJ next 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
range of medium work. Although the ALJ found Plaintiff unable
to perform any past relevant work, the ALJ found two jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that Plaintiff can perform: night cleaner and machine
packager. The ALJ therefore determined Plaintiff was not
review, the Court finds the ALJ's decision should be
affirmed for the reasons set forth in the Government's
brief. Plaintiff alleges errors relating to, inter
alia, (1) the ALJ's credibility assessment, (2) and
the ALJ's RFC determination.
connection with the ALJ's credibility assessment,
Plaintiff contends that the ALJ improperly relied on
Plaintiff's noncompliance with prescribed treatment, and
that the ALJ improperly considered Plaintiff's activities
of daily living. Here, the ALJ discussed the lack of
objective medical evidence to support the degree of
Plaintiff's subjective complaints, Plaintiff's
noncompliance, and Plaintiff's reports of daily
activities to weigh the credibility of Plaintiff's
subjective complaints. See Guilliams v. Barnhart,
393 F.3d 798, 802 (8th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted)
(“A failure to follow a recommended course of treatment
also weighs against a claimant's credibility.”).
The Court finds that in assessing Plaintiff's
credibility, the ALJ set forth specific reasons for the
weight given to Plaintiff's subject complaints, reflects
consideration of the appropriate factors, and is supported by
substantial evidence. See 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1529(c) and 416.929(c).
the ALJ's RFC determination, Plaintiff argues the ALJ
failed to sufficiently consider Plaintiff's obesity. In
support of his argument, Plaintiff relies on Dameron v.
Astrue, 2009 WL 1912520 (W.D. Mo. July 1, 2009), in
which this Court reversed and remanded the ALJ's decision
with an instruction to follow SSR 02-1p. Shortly after
Dameron was decided, however, the Eighth Circuit
reviewed an ALJ's decision involving the severe
impairment of obesity and held that “when an ALJ
references the claimant's obesity during the claim
evaluation process, such review may be sufficient to avoid
reversal.” Heino v. Astrue, 578 F.3d 873, 881
(8th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted) (Commissioner's
decision upheld where the record indicated that the ALJ
specifically considered the plaintiff's obesity); see
also Lee v. Colvin, No. 13- 0722-CV-W-REL-SSA, 2015 WL
181714, *20 (W.D. Mo. Jan. 15, 2015) (no reversal in part
because plaintiff “fails to suggest any further
restrictions that should have been assessed as a result of
her obesity”). The Court finds no error in the
carefully reviewed the record before the Court and the
parties' submissions on appeal, the Court concludes that
the ALJ's decision complies with the relevant legal
requirements and is supported by substantial evidence in the
record as a whole.
THEREFORE, ORDERED that the decision of the Commissioner is