United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
NANNETTE A. BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Carla M. Valle's appeal
regarding the denial of disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income under the Social Security Act.
The Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this
action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The parties have
consented to the exercise of authority by the United States
Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). [Doc.
7.] The Court has reviewed the parties' briefs and the
entire administrative record, including the transcript and
medical evidence. Based on the following, the Court will
affirm the Commissioner's decision.
presents two issues for review. Valle contends that the
administrative law judge's opinion failed to properly
consider opinion evidence and contains multiple inaccuracies,
which should serve as a basis for remand. The Commissioner
asserts that the ALJ's decision is supported by
substantial evidence in the record as a whole and should be
Social Security Act defines disability as an “inability
to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of
any medically determinable physical or mental impairment
which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can
be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
12 months.” 42 U.S.C. §§ 416(i)(1)(A),
standard of review is narrow. Pearsall v. Massanari,
274 F.3d 1211, 1217 (8th Cir. 2001). This Court reviews the
decision of the ALJ to determine whether the decision is
supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Substantial evidence is less than a
preponderance, but enough that a reasonable mind would find
adequate support for the ALJ's decision. Smith v.
Shalala, 31 F.3d 715, 717 (8th Cir. 1994). The Court
determines whether evidence is substantial by considering
evidence that detracts from the Commissioner's decision
as well as evidence that supports it. Cox v.
Barnhart, 471 F.3d 902, 906 (8th Cir. 2006). The Court
may not reverse just because substantial evidence exists that
would support a contrary outcome or because the Court would
have decided the case differently. Id. If, after
reviewing the record as a whole, the Court finds it possible
to draw two inconsistent positions from the evidence and one
of those positions represents the Commissioner's finding,
the Commissioner's decision must be affirmed.
Masterson v. Barnhart, 363 F.3d 731, 736 (8th Cir.
Court must affirm the Commissioner's decision so long as
it conforms to the law and is supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole. Collins ex rel.
Williams v. Barnhart, 335 F.3d 726, 729 (8th Cir. 2003).
“In this substantial-evidence determination, the entire
administrative record is considered but the evidence is not
reweighed.” Byes v. Astrue, 687 F.3d. 913, 915
(8th Cir. 2012).
Disability Report, Valle alleged that her impairments of
irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and diabetes with
neuropathy in the right arm and leg limit her ability to
work. (Tr. 348.) The SSA initially denied her claim. She
requested a hearing with an ALJ and he ultimately found that
she was not disabled. (Tr. 110-29.) She requested review from
the Appeals Council, which granted her request for review.
The Appeals Council remanded her case to the ALJ for
reconsideration of her carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis and
obesity, re-evaluation for the weight given to the medical
opinions, specific explanation of support for RFC, and
testimony of a vocational expert. (Tr. 130-34.)
second administrative hearing, the ALJ again found that Valle
was not disabled. (Tr. 10-25.) Specifically, the ALJ found
that Valle had the severe impairments of degenerative disc
disease, diabetes mellitus with peripheral neuropathy, carpal
tunnel syndrome, and obesity. (Tr. 13.) He also found that
she did not have an impairment or combination of impairments
that met or medically equaled the severity of one of the
listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix
1. (Tr. 14.) He opined that she had the RFC to perform a
limited range of light work with the additional limitations
of (1) need to change position for two minutes every hour,
(2) no climbing of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, (3)
occasionally balance, kneel, crouch, crawl, stoop, and climb
ramps, and stairs; (3) no prolonged exposure to extreme cold,
and (5) frequently handle, finger, and feel. (Tr. 15.)
Ultimately, the ALJ found that Valle was not disabled as she
could perform her past relevant work and there were other
jobs in the national economy that she could perform. (Tr.
23-25.) The Appeals Council denied a request for review. (Tr.
opinion, the ALJ gave no weight to the medical opinions of
Valle's treating physicians Dr. Dan Frissell and Dr.
Nawras Makhsida. Valle only asserts that the ALJ should have
given controlling weight to Dr. Frissell's opinion.
Therefore, the Court will not address Dr. Makhsida's
opinions are statements from physicians and psychologists or
other acceptable medical sources that reflect judgments about
the nature and severity of a claimant's impairments,
including symptoms, diagnosis and prognosis, and what the
claimant can still do despite her impairments and her
physical or mental restrictions. 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1527(a)(2), 416.927(a)(2). All medical opinions, whether by
treating or consultative examiners are weighed based on (1)
whether the provider examined the claimant; (2) whether the
provider is a treating source; (3) length of treatment
relationship and frequency of examination, including nature
and extent of the treatment relationship; (4) supportability
of opinion with medical signs, laboratory findings, ...