United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
SHAYLA C. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
ANDREW M. SAUL Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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 and Title XVI application for Supplemental Security
Income (“SSI”) under 42 U.S.C. §§
401-434, 1381-1385. For the reasons discussed below, the
Commissioner's decision is affirmed.
originally filed a claim for benefits under Title II and
Title XVI on November 18, 2014. After the claim was denied
Plaintiff filed a request for a hearing which was held. The
Administrative Law Judge issued an unfavorable decision.
Plaintiff requested review by the Appeals Council, which
request was denied on January 24, 2018.
October 17, 2016 a hearing was conducted by ALJ Bradley Hanan
in Creve Coeur, Missouri. Plaintiff appeared in person and
with counsel. Also in appearance was Dr. Taylor, a Vocational
was born on August 20, 1992. She was 24 on the date of the
hearing. She alleged she became disabled beginning March 1,
2014. Plaintiff asserted she was disabled due to bipolar
disorder, depression, anger, and inability to concentrate.
Plaintiff has an eleventh grade education and was not
successful in securing her GED, although she attempted
training and preparation for it a number of times. There is
testimony that Plaintiff lives with her cousin as she cannot
afford an apartment.
was testimony from Plaintiff that she feels whenever she is
around people they are always talking about her. Whether
it's family members, co-workers, or strangers, is of no
consequence. If in a public setting she feels people are out
to get her.
January/February she visited a clinic at Myrtle Hilliard
Davis and she was prescribed Wellbutrin, Risperdal, and
Vistaril. She testified she never filled the prescriptions
because they were too costly and she did not have the funds
to buy them outright.
testified that she cannot keep and doesn't have any
friends because they all talk about her and talk down to her.
She doesn't spend time with family members for the same
the Vocational Expert, Dr. Taylor, testified. Taylor
testified as to a proper hypothetical which assumed the past
work of Plaintiff with specific limitations of: no
exertional, postural, manipulative, environmental, or visual
limitations. However, there are limitations to occupations
that involve only simple, routine, repetitive tasks and
occupations that do not require any written communications,
and to be in a low-stress job, defined as jobs of only
occasional decision-making required, of only occasional
changes in the work setting occur, with no contact with the
public, no interaction with coworkers, but contact with
coworkers can still occur as long as that contact is casual
and infrequent. The work should also be isolated, defined as
work where there is contact with supervisory staff concerning
work duties when the work duties are being performed up to
expectations still occurs no more than four times per work
day. In these regards, Dr. Taylor noted there were 287, 000
medium skilled dishwasher positions; 380, 000 medium,
unskilled cleaner positions nationally.
added an additional limitation that the individual could have
no contact with other coworkers. Dr. Taylor then noted that
all jobs involve at least superficial contact with coworkers.
As a consequence the additional limitation obviated any jobs
being available. These conclusions and opinions by Dr. Taylor
were noted in the record as consistent with the DOT.
the ALJ held, on April 19, 2017, that Plaintiff was not under
any disability since the date the application was filed. The
ALJ found that Plaintiff had severe impairments which
included attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and
intellectual disability. The ALJ found that she did not have
an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or
medically equals the severity of one of the listed
impairments 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
non-exertional limitations. Plaintiff was limited to
occupations that involve simple, routine, and repetitive
tasks. In a low-stress job defined as requiring only
occasional decision making and only occasional changes in the
work setting with no contact with the public, only casual and
infrequent contact with coworkers, and contact with
supervisors concerning work duties (when they are being
performed satisfactorily) occurring no more than four times
per workday. Consequently, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was
January 24, 2018, 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
of the Issues
the 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 issues here are
whether there is substantial evidence in support of the ALJ
analysis of Plaintiff's severe impairments and whether
substantial evidence supports the ALJ's analysis of the
explained below, the Court has considered the entire record
in this matter. The decision of the Commissioner is supported
by substantial evidence and it will be affirmed.
for Determining Disability
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.
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