United States District Court, S.D. Texas
Arthur L. Turner, Plaintiff,
Nancy Berryhill, Defendant.
OPINION ON SUMMARY JUDGMENT
N. Hughes United States District Judge
L. Turner brought this action for judicial review of the
commissioner's final decision to deny him disability
insurance benefits. The question is whether substantial
evidence supports the commissioner's decision. It does.
applied for disability benefits on May 5, 2014. He was
forty-three years old at the time. Turner claimed to suffer
from type 2 diabetes and related neuropathy. He has a high
school education and last worked a truck driver on November
hearing officer found that Turner suffers from several severe
impairments, including diabetes, degenerative disc disease of
the spine, rotator cuff tear, bursitis, peripheral
neuropathy, and major depressive disorder. None of the
impairments prevents Turner from working. Based on the
testimony of a vocational expert, the hearing officer found
that Turner could work as an order filler, a supply clerk, or
a gate guard. He is therefore not disabled.
Standard of Review
court's review is limited to determining whether the
commissioner's decision is supported by substantial
evidence and whether the correct legal standards were
employed. Garcia v. Berryhill, 880 F.3d 700, 704
(5th Cir. 2018). The court "does not reweigh the
evidence in the record, try the issues de novo, or
substitute its judgment for the Commissioner's, even if
the evidence weighs against the Commissioner's
decision." Newton v. Apfel, 209 F.3d 448, 452
(5th Cir. 2000). "Conflicts in the evidence are for the
Commissioner and not the courts to resolve."
Id. "A decision is supported by substantial
evidence if credible evidentiary choices or medical findings
support the decision." Salmond v. Berryhill,
892 F.3d 812, 817 (5th Cir. 2018).
Social Security Act provides disability insurance benefits to
people who have contributed to the program and have a
physical or mental disability. See 42 U.S.C. § 423. It
defines disability as the "inability to engage in any
substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically
determinate physical or mental impairment . . . which has
lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of
not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A).
Commissioner uses a sequential, five-step approach to
determine whether the claimant is disabled. The claimant
bears the burden of proof on the first four steps, but the
Commissioner bears the burden on the fifth step.
Newton, 209 F.3d at 455. First, a person who is
working and engaging in substantial gainful activity is not
disabled. Second, a person who does not have a severe
impairment is not disabled. Third, a person whose severe
impairments meet or equal an impairment in appendix 1 of the
regulations is deemed disabled. The commissioner must
determine the person's residual functional capacity
("RFC"), which is a determination of the most the
cl aimant can still do despite her physical and mental
limitations. The RFC is used in the fourth and fifth steps of
the analysis to determine whether the claimant can perform
past relevant work or any other work that is significant in
the national economy.
hearing officer followed the correct legal rules, and his
findings are ...