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Beyer v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

February 12, 2019

KIMBERLY M. BEYER, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HENRY EDWARD AUTREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court, pursuant to the Social Security Act (“the Act”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3), authorizing judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying Plaintiff's Title II application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under 42 U.S.C. §§ 401et seq., and Title XVI application for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381 et seq. For the reasons discussed below, the Commissioner's decision is affirmed.

         On June 22, 2016 a hearing was conducted by ALJ Christal Key in Creve Coeur, Missouri. Plaintiff appeared in person and with counsel. Also in appearance was Darrell Taylor, a Vocational Expert.

         Plaintiff was born on November 10, 1969. She was 46 years old at the time of hearing. Plaintiff has a GED and work training and experience as a beautician. She was 42 years old at the time of onset. Plaintiff suffers from depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety with panic disorder. There is testimony that Plaintiff lives in a single story house with her 13 year old daughter.

         Plaintiff testified since she began seeing Dr. Ardekani at 18 she has been taking Wellbutrin (for 10 years), Effexor(for 10 years), Ritalin (for 2 years 2 times a day), Xanax (for 4 years 3 times a day), Temazepam (for 9 years). She also stated that her symptoms have gotten worse and that the Wellbutrin makes her ears ring. There was also testimony by Plaintiff that she goes grocery shopping about once every three weeks and cooks meals, takes care of her 13 year old daughter, cleans the home, and does laundry.

         Next, the Vocational Expert, Darrell Taylor, testified without any objection to his qualifications. Taylor testified as to the past work of Plaintiff as a hair stylist which is light exertional skilled. Further, based upon a proper hypothetical, with limitations of simple routine task and not at a productive rate, with simple work-related decisions there was unskilled medium exertional work available as a dishwasher. The Vocational Expert testified that Plaintiff could perform any of unskilled work as a cleaner and light exertional, unskilled work as an unskilled handpacker.

         Mr. Taylor also testified that the work was consistent the DOT and Selected Characteristics of Occupation.

         Accordingly, the ALJ held that Plaintiff was not under any disability during her alleged onset date, July 31, 2012. The ALJ found that Plaintiff had severe impairments which included bipolar disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and attention deficit disorder. The ALJ found that she did not have an impairment or combination of impairments listed in or medically equal to one contained in 20 C.F.R. part 404, subpart P, appendix 1. The ALJ determined that Plaintiff retained the RFC to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels with certain nonexertional limitations. Plaintiff is limited to performing simple, routine and repetitive tasks, but not at production rate pace. She is limited to simple work-related decisions she can interact only occasionally with supervisors and only frequently with co-workers and can have only occasional contact with the public. Consequently, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled.

         On September 20, 2017, the Social Security Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. Plaintiff has exhausted her administrative remedies, and the decision of the ALJ stands as the final decision of the Commissioner subject to judicial review.

         Statement of the Issues

          The general issues in a Social Security case are whether the final decision of the Commissioner is consistent with the Social Security Act, regulations, and applicable case law, and whether the findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. The specific issues in this case are whether there is substantial evidence in support of the ALJ's evaluation of the medical opinions and whether there is substantial evidence in support of the Residual Functional Capacity determination.

         As explained below, the Court has considered the entire record in this matter. Because the decision of the Commissioner is supported by substantial evidence, it will be affirmed.

         Standard for Determining Disability

         The standard of review here is limited to a determination of whether the decision is supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. See Milam v. Colvin, 794 F.3d 978, 983 (8th Cir. 2015). Substantial evidence is less than preponderance, but enough that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the Commissioner's conclusion. See id.

         The Court must consider evidence that both supports and detracts from the Commissioner's decision but cannot reverse the decision because substantial evidence also exists in the record that would have supported a contrary outcome, or because it would have decided the case differently. See Andrews v. Colvin, 791 F.3d 923, 928 (8th Cir. 2015). If the Court finds that the evidence supports two inconsistent positions and one of those positions represents the Commissioner's findings, the Court must affirm the Commissioner's decision. Wright v. Colvin, 789 F.3d 847, 852 (8th Cir. 2015). The Eighth Circuit has stated that ...


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