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Sexton v. Saul

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

September 16, 2019

BRYAN SEXTON, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW M. SAUL, [1]Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          ABBIE CRITES-LEONI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Bryan Sexton brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking judicial review of the Social Security Administration Commissioner's denial of his application for Supplemental Security Income under Title XVI of the Social Security Act.

         An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that, despite Sexton's severe mental impairments, he was not disabled as he had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform work existing in significant numbers in the national economy.

         This matter is pending before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge, with consent of the parties, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). A summary of the entire record is presented in the parties' briefs and is repeated here only to the extent necessary.

         For the following reasons, the decision of the Commissioner will be affirmed.

         I. Procedural History

         Sexton filed his application for benefits on August 10, 2015, [2] claiming that he became unable to work on March 6, 2014. (Tr. 170-75.) In his Disability Report, Sexton alleged disability due to Asperger's syndrome, anxiety in public, confusion with directions, sensitivity to extreme heat, hallucinations, high blood pressure, and depression. (Tr. 191.) Sexton was 28 years of age on his alleged onset of disability date. (Tr. 26.) His application was denied initially. (Tr. 95-106, 109-13.) Sexton's claim was denied by an ALJ on October 13, 2017. (Tr. 15-27.) On June 11, 2018, the Appeals Council denied Sexton's claim for review. (Tr. 1-6.) Thus, the decision of the ALJ stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.981, 416.1481.

         In this action, Sexton argues that “the ALJ erred by formulating an RFC not supported by substantial evidence in that the ALJ did not properly weigh the medical opinions of record.” (Doc. 16 at p. 7.)

         II. The ALJ's Determination

         The ALJ first found that Sexton did not engage in substantial gainful activity since August 10, 2015, the application date. (Tr. 17.) The ALJ next found that Sexton had the following severe impairments: psychosis not otherwise specified; major depressive disorder; intermittent explosive disorder; Asperger's syndrome, also diagnosed as autism spectrum disorder; and history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”). (Tr. 17-18.) The ALJ found that Sexton did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed impairments. (Tr. 18.)

         As to Sexton's RFC, the ALJ stated:

After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with nonexertional limitations. Specifically, the claimant can understand, remember, and carry out simple instructions consistent with routine, repetitive unskilled work at SVP 1 and SVP 2. He can maintain attention to tasks for periods of 2-hour segments. He can tolerate occasional contact with co-workers and supervisors, but no contact with the general public, in a setting where he completes tasks relatively independently and where social interaction is not a primary job requirement, in an occupation where there are no strict production quotas and he would not be subject to the demands of fast-paced production work (i.e., work by the shift, not by the hour). He can perform simple decision making related to basic work functions. He can tolerate minor, infrequent changes in the workplace. He would likely be off task about 5 percent of the workday.

(Tr. 21.)

         The ALJ found that Sexton had no past relevant work, but was capable of performing jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy, such as automobile detailer, landscape specialist, and spiral binder. (Tr. 26.) The ALJ therefore concluded that Sexton was not under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since August 10, 2015. Id.

         The ALJ's final decision reads as follows:

Based on the application for supplemental security income protectively filed on August 10, 2015, the claimant is not disabled under section 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act.

(Tr. 27.)

         III. Applicable Law

         III.A. ...


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