United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Eastern Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Michael T. Parker United States Magistrate Judge.
Glenda Ann Jackson brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) seeking judicial review of a final decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security Administration denying
her claim for disability insurance benefits. Having
considered the parties' submissions, the record, and the
applicable law, the undersigned recommends that
Defendant's Motion to Affirm  be GRANTED, the
Commissioner's final decision be AFFIRMED, and this
action be DISMISSED.
February 7, 2014, Plaintiff applied for disability insurance
benefits, alleging disability due to a back impairment,
carpal tunnel syndrome, anxiety, depression, obesity, and
neck problems. (Administrative Record  at 348-55). After
the agency denied Plaintiff's claim, an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”) held a hearing, and on April
28, 2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff
was not disabled. ( at 19-27). Plaintiff then appealed
the ALJ's decision to the Appeals Council. On February
21, 2018, the Appeals Council found that the issues submitted
for review did not provide a basis for changing the ALJ's
decision, rendering the ALJ's decision the final decision
of the Commissioner. ( at 5-7). Plaintiff now seeks
judicial review in this Court under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
LAW JUDGE'S DECISION
April 28, 2017 decision, the ALJ applied the five-step
sequential analysis set forth in 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(b)-(f) and determined that Plaintiff was not
disabled. At step one, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had
not engaged in substantial gainful activity after November
15, 2013, her alleged disability onset date. ( at 21).
two, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's back impairment was
severe. Additionally, the ALJ determined that the following
medically determinable impairments were not severe: anxiety,
carpal tunnel syndrome, depression, obesity, and neck
problems. ( at 21). At step three, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff 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. ( at 23).
then examined the record and determined that Plaintiff had
the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to “perform the full range of light
work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b),
except the claimant can rarely climb ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds, she can frequently climb ramps and stairs, and can
frequently stoop, crouch, kneel, and crawl.” ( at
23). At step four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was capable
of performing past relevant work as a work order processor.
Accordingly, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled.
( at 27).
Court's review of the Commissioner's decision is
limited to determining whether there is substantial evidence
to support the Commissioner's findings and whether the
correct legal standards were applied in evaluating the
evidence. Hollis v. Bowen, 837 F.2d 1378, 1382 (5th
Cir. 1988). Substantial evidence is “more than a
scintilla, less than a preponderance, and is such relevant
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.” Hames v. Heckler, 707
F.2d 162, 164 (5th Cir. 1983). To be substantial, the
evidence “must do more than create a suspicion of the
existence of the fact to be established.” Id.
“[a] finding of no substantial evidence is appropriate
only if no credible evidentiary choices or medical findings
support the decision.” Boyd v. Apfel, 239 F.3d
698, 704 (5th Cir. 2001) (internal citations and quotations
omitted). Conflicts in the evidence are for the Commissioner,
not the courts, to resolve. Selders v. Sullivan, 914
F.2d 614, 617 (5th Cir. 1990). A court may not re-weigh the
evidence, try the issues de novo, or substitute its
judgment for the Commissioner's, “even if the
evidence preponderates against” the Commissioner's
decision. Harrell v. Bowen, 862 F.2d 471, 475 (5th
Cir. 1988). If the decision is supported by substantial
evidence, it is conclusive and must be affirmed.
Selders, 914 F.2d at 617. Moreover,
“[p]rocedural perfection in administrative proceedings
is not required as long as ‘the substantial rights of a
party have not been affected.'” Audler v.
Astrue, 501 F.3d 446, 448 (5th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Mays v. Bowen, 837 F.2d 1362, 1364 (5th Cir. 1988)).
raises two issues for review: (1) whether the ALJ erred by
failing to apply the “de
minimis” step two standard with respect to
Plaintiff's medically determinable impairment of carpal
tunnel syndrome, and thereafter, further erred by not
accounting for it in his ultimate RFC finding and (2) whether
the ALJ erred by failing to consider Plaintiff's work
history as part of his credibility assessment.
1: Whether the ALJ erred by failing to apply the de minimis
step two standard with respect to Plaintiff's medically
determinable impairment of carpal tunnel syndrome, and
thereafter, further erred by not accounting for it in his
ultimate RFC finding.
argues that the ALJ erred by failing to apply the correct
standard at step two, by failing to consider all the medical
records and Plaintiff's testimony regarding her carpal
tunnel syndrome, and by failing to account for limitations
related to carpal tunnel syndrome in Plaintiff's RFC.
first argues that the standard for determining the severity
of an impairment was not correctly applied. The ALJ's
opinion, however, states that an impairment is not severe
“when medical and other evidence establish only a
slight abnormality or a combination of slight abnormalities
that would have no more than a minimal effect on an
individual's ability to work.” ( at 20). This
standard is compliant with both the Code of Federal