United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
GARIN D. THREET, Plaintiff,
ANDREW M. SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER'S
KAYS, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Garin D. Threet (“Plaintiff”) petitions for
judicial review of an adverse decision by Defendant, the
Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”).
Plaintiff applied for disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income under Titles II and XVI of the
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434 and
1381-1383f. The Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
found Plaintiff's allegations of disabling symptoms were
not supported by the medical record and determined Plaintiff
retained the residual functional capacity (“RFC”)
to perform other work as a deli slicer, automotive detailer,
and hand packager. Thus, the ALJ found he was not disabled.
carefully reviewing the record and the parties'
arguments, the Court finds the ALJ's decision is
supported by substantial evidence. The Commissioner's
decision is AFFIRMED.
and Factual Background
complete facts and arguments are presented in the
parties' briefs and are repeated here only to the extent
filed his applications on June 4, 2015, alleging he became
disabled on January 1, 2013. The Commissioner denied the
applications at the initial claim level, and Plaintiff
appealed the denial to an ALJ. The ALJ held a hearing, and on
November 9, 2017, found Plaintiff was not disabled. The
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for a review
on July 20, 2018. Plaintiff has exhausted all administrative
remedies and judicial review is now appropriate under 42
U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3).
federal court's review of the Commissioner's decision
to deny disability benefits is limited to determining whether
the Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole. Andrews v.
Colvin, 791 F.3d 923, 928 (8th Cir. 2015).
Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance but enough
that a reasonable mind would find it sufficient to support
the Commissioner's decision. Id. In making this
assessment, the court considers evidence that detracts from
the Commissioner's decision, as well as evidence that
supports it. Id. The court must “defer
heavily” to the Commissioner's findings and
conclusions. Wright v. Colvin, 789 F.3d 847, 852
(8th Cir. 2015). The court may reverse the Commissioner's
decision only if it falls outside of the available zone of
choice, and a decision is not outside this zone simply
because the evidence points to an alternate outcome.
Buckner v. Astrue, 646 F.3d 549, 556 (8th Cir.
Commissioner follows a five-step sequential evaluation
process to determine whether a claimant is
disabled, that is, unable to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable
impairment that has lasted or can be expected to last for a
continuous period of at least twelve months. 42 U.S.C. §
argues the ALJ erred at Step Four by discrediting his
subjective complaints, giving great weight to the opinions of
Rick Thomas, Ph.D., and Stephen Scher, Ph.D., and giving
little weight to the joint opinion of David G. Lawson, M.Ed.,
and Nina L. Epperson, M.S. He also argues the ALJ failed to
meet his burden at Step Five of proving Plaintiff was capable
of other work.
The RFC is supported by substantial evidence.
is the most a claimant can do despite the combined effect of
all credible limitations. See 20 C.F.R. §
404.1545(a)(1). The claimant has the burden to prove the RFC
at Step Four of the sequential evaluation process.
Pearsall v. Massanari, 274 F.3d 1211, 1217 (8th Cir.
2001). An ALJ develops the RFC based on all relevant evidence
of record, including the claimant's subjective statements
about his limitations, as well as medical opinion evidence.
Mabry v. Colvin, 815 F.3d 386, 390 (8th Cir. 2015).
The ALJ did not err in discrediting Plaintiff's