United States District Court, D. Maine
DWAYNE M. ARMSWORTHY, Plaintiff
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, ACTING COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant
REPORT AND RECOMMENDED DECISION
C. NIVISON U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
action, Plaintiff Dwayne M. Armsworthy seeks disability
insurance benefits under Title II and supplemental security
income benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act.
Defendant, the Social Security Administration Acting
Commissioner, found that Plaintiff has a severe impairment
but retains the functional capacity to perform substantial
gainful activity. Defendant, therefore, denied
Plaintiff's request for disability benefits. Plaintiff
filed this action to obtain judicial review of
Defendant's final administrative decision pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g).
a review of the record, and after consideration of the
parties' arguments, I recommend the Court affirm the
Commissioner's final decision is the June 6, 2016,
decision of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) (ECF No.
9-2). The ALJ's decision tracks the familiar
five-step sequential evaluation process for analyzing social
security disability claims, 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520,
determined that Plaintiff has one severe, but
non-listing-level impairment: borderline intellectual
functioning. (Decision ¶¶ 3 - 4.) The ALJ further
found Plaintiff to have the residual functional capacity
(RFC) for work at all exertional levels, with non-exertional
limitations restricting him to work that involved simple
instructions and decisions, and work that excluded public
interaction. (Id. ¶ 5.) While Plaintiff cannot
perform his past relevant work, which was semi-skilled, in
accordance with the testimony of a vocational expert, the ALJ
concluded that a person with Plaintiff's RFC and
vocational profile could make an adjustment to other
substantial gainful activity, including specific vocations
existing in substantial numbers in the national economy.
(Id. ¶¶ 6, 10.) The ALJ, therefore,
concluded that Plaintiff was not under a disability from
November 1, 2014, through the date of the ALJ's decision.
(Id. ¶ 11.)
time of Plaintiff's hearing on May 6, 2016, the only
diagnostic testing of Plaintiff's intellectual
functioning was a 2007 consultative examination performed by
Edward Quinn, Ph.D., on behalf of the Maine Disability
Determination Services. (Ex. 1F.) That evaluation was
evidently conducted in connection with a prior disability
April 8, 2016, Plaintiff requested a new examination in
support of his current application. The ALJ did not address
the request prior to the hearing date, but at the hearing,
the ALJ denied the request for any further evaluation. After
the hearing, Plaintiff asked the ALJ to dismiss the request
for hearing. (R. 217.) The ALJ denied the motion and issued a
decision on the merits. (Decision at 1, R. 20.)
Statement of Errors
argues the ALJ abused his discretion when he (1) did not
order a further consultative examination, and denied the
request for dismissal; (2) failed to develop the record and
denied the applications in the absence of substantial
evidence; and (3) determined Plaintiff's RFC by assessing
raw medical evidence without the aid of any supportive expert
Standard of Review
must affirm the administrative decision provided that the ALJ
applied the correct legal standards and provided that the
decision is supported by substantial evidence, even if the
record contains evidence capable of supporting an alternative
outcome. Manso-Pizarro v. Sec'y of HHS, 76 F.3d
15, 16 (1st Cir. 1996) (per curiam); Rodriguez Pagan v.
Sec'y of HHS, 819 F.2d 1, 3 (1st Cir. 1987).
Substantial evidence is evidence that a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a finding. Richardson v.
Perales,402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971); Rodriguez v.
Sec'y of HHS, 647 F.2d 218, 222 (1st Cir. 1981).
“The ALJ's findings of fact are conclusive when
supported by substantial ...