United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
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 Plaintiff suffers from the
following severe impairments: obesity, osteoarthritis of the
left knee with a history of remote surgery, hip dysplasia,
and lumbar degenerative disc disease. The ALJ also determined
that Plaintiff has the following non-severe impairments:
hypertension and bipolar disorder. However, the ALJ found
that none of the 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 light work with the following limitations:
claimant is limited to lifting twenty pounds occasionally and
ten pounds frequently; sit for six hours out of an eight hour
workday, with normal breaks; can never climb ladders, ropes,
or scaffolds; never crawl, kneel, or crouch; and only
occasionally perform all other postural functions. The ALJ
found that Plaintiff has no past relevant work, but that
Plaintiff can perform jobs that exist in significant numbers
in the national economy.
appeal, Plaintiff raises the following issues: (1) whether
the ALJ properly determined Plaintiff's RFC, including
whether the ALJ properly evaluated Plaintiff's obesity,
and (2) whether the subsequent favorable decision awarding
benefits is new and material evidence requiring remand.
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). Next, the ALJ properly determined
Plaintiff's subsequent favorable decision does not
warrant remand or reversal because there is no new and
material evidence. Upon careful consideration, this Court
finds that substantial evidence supports the ALJ's
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
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