57 F.3d 1065 (4th Cir. 1995), 95-1089, Bell v. Chater

Docket Nº:95-1089.
Citation:57 F.3d 1065
Party Name:Mary Jane BELL, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Shirley S. CHATER, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:June 09, 1995
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
 
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Page 1065

57 F.3d 1065 (4th Cir. 1995)

Mary Jane BELL, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Shirley S. CHATER, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 95-1089.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

June 9, 1995

         Editorial Note:

         This opinion appears in the Federal reporter in a table titled "Table of Decisions Without Reported Opinions". (See FI CTA4 Rule 36 regarding use of unpublished opinions)

        Argued: May 5, 1995.

        Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, at Statesville. Carl Horn, III, Magistrate Judge. (CA-94-38-5-H)

        ARGUED: Diane Upson, Todd, NC, for Appellant. James Michael Sullivan, Assistant United States Attorney, Charlotte, NC, for Appellee. ON BRIEF: Mark T. Calloway, United States Attorney, Charlotte, NC, for Appellee.

        W.D.N.C.

        AFFIRMED.

        Before NIEMEYER and MOTZ, Circuit Judges, and PHILLIPS, Senior Circuit Judge.

        OPINION

        PER CURIAM:

        Mary Jane Bell appeals from the denial of her application for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. [*] Finding no reversible error, we affirm.

        I.

        On November 22, 1991, Bell filed an application for disability insurance benefits under Title II and supplemental security income benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 301 et seq. Bell claimed disability as of July 24, 1986 due to reflex sympathetic dystrophy in the left arm and shoulder. The claim was denied at both the initial and reconsideration stages, and after hearings on October 23, 1992 and June 2, 1993, an administrative law judge (ALJ) concluded that Bell was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act and denied her claim. The Appeals Council denied Bell's request for review, and the Secretary's decision thus became final on February 4, 1994.

        Bell filed this action in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, seeking judicial review of the Secretary's decision. On December 16, 1994, the magistrate judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1), granted the Secretary's motion for summary judgment and affirmed the denial of Bell's application for benefits. This appeal followed.

        II.

        Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), we review the ALJ's decision to determine whether it was supported by substantial evidence and whether the correct law was applied. See also Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d 1453, 1456 (4th Cir.1990). Substantial evidence is defined as " 'such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion,' " Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)), and "consists of more than a mere scintilla of evidence but may be somewhat less than a preponderance." Laws v. Celebrezze, 368 F.2d 640, 642 (4th Cir.1966). Our review is thus a limited one: "[i]t is not our place either to weigh the evidence or to substitute our judgment for that of the Secretary if that decision was supported by substantial evidence." Hunter v. Sullivan, 993 F.2d 31, 34 (4th Cir.1992).

        Under the Social Security Act, a claimant is considered disabled if she cannot "engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be ... expected...

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