Wren v. Sullivan, No. 90-1584

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore JOHNSON, SMITH and WIENER; PER CURIAM
Citation925 F.2d 123
PartiesFlorence M. WREN, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Louis W. SULLIVAN, M.D., Secretary of Health & Human Services, Defendant-Appellee. Summary Calendar.
Decision Date01 March 1991
Docket NumberNo. 90-1584

Page 123

925 F.2d 123
32 Soc.Sec.Rep.Ser. 359
Florence M. WREN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Louis W. SULLIVAN, M.D., Secretary of Health & Human
Services, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 90-1584
Summary Calendar.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fifth Circuit.
March 1, 1991.

Page 124

Hansel Anthony Jones, Jackson, Miss., for plaintiff-appellant.

George Phillips, U.S. Atty., Jackson, Miss., Beth Henderson, Mary A. Sloan, Mack A. Davis, and Bruce R. Granger, Atlanta, Ga., for defendant-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

Before JOHNSON, SMITH and WIENER, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

In this Social Security case, Plaintiff-Appellant, Florence M. Wren, appeals from the order of the district court adopting the

Page 125

magistrate's report and recommendation to affirm the final decision of Defendant-Appellee (Secretary) declining Wren's request for review. Finding no reversible error in the district court's determination that the Secretary's decision was reasonable and supported by substantial evidence, we affirm.

I.

Wren filed her applications for disability insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income on November 10, 1987, alleging disability from October 11, 1987, as a result of a back injury sustained in an automobile accident. The applications were denied initially, and were again denied upon reconsideration. Wren then requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on October 12, 1988. The ALJ subsequently issued a decision on November 25, 1988, denying Wren's claims. On May 5, 1989, the Appeals Council declined to grant Wren's request for review.

After she timely exhausted her administrative remedies, Wren sought judicial review of the Secretary's final decision in the district court. On July 3, 1990, the magistrate recommended that Wren's complaint be dismissed. Wren filed objections to the magistrate's report and recommendation. By order dated July 18, 1990, the district court adopted the magistrate's report and recommendation and affirmed the decision of the Secretary. Wren timely appealed on July 20, 1990.

II.

A. PROOF OF DISABILITY

In order to obtain a period of disability and disability insurance benefits, Wren bears the burden of proving that she is disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act (the Act). Cook v. Heckler, 750 F.2d 391, 393 (5th Cir.1985). The Act defines disability as the "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death, or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months." 42 U.S.C. Sec. 423(d)(1)(A). A physical or mental impairment is "an impairment that results from anatomical, physiological or psychological abnormalities which are demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques." 42 U.S.C. Sec. 423(d)(3).

B. DETERMINING DISABILITY

The Secretary has promulgated Social Security Administration Regulation No. 16, setting forth a five-step sequential process to be used in determining whether a claimant is disabled:

1. An individual who is working and engaging in substantial gainful activity will not be found disabled regardless of the medical findings. 20 C.F.R. Secs. 404.1520(b) and 416.920(b) (1989).

2. An individual who does not have a "severe impairment" will not be found to be disabled. 20 C.F.R. Secs. 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c) (1989).

3. An individual who "meets or equals a listed impairment in Appendix 1" of the regulations will be considered disabled without consideration of vocational factors. 20 C.F.R. Sec. 404.1520(d) and 416.920(d) (1989).

4. If an individual is capable of performing the work he has done in the past, a finding of "not disabled" must be made. 20 C.F.R. Sec. 404.1520(e) and 416.920(e) (1989).

5. If an individual's impairment precludes him from performing his past work, other factors including age, education, past work experience, and residual functional capacity must be considered to determine if work can be performed. 20 C.F.R. Secs. 404.1520(f) and 416.920(f) (1989).

On the first four steps of the analysis, the claimant has the initial burden of proving that she is disabled. Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 146 n. 5, 107 S.Ct. 2287, 2294 n. 5, 96 L.Ed.2d 119 (1987). The burden shifts to the Secretary on the fifth step to show that the claimant is capable of performing work in the national economy and is therefore not disabled. Id. "A finding

Page 126

that a claimant is disabled or is not disabled at any point in the five-step review is conclusive and terminates the analysis." Lovelace v. Bowen, 813 F.2d 55, 58 (5th Cir.1987).

Following the sequential steps, the ALJ found that Wren was not disabled in the fourth step of the analysis because her "impairments do not prevent [her] from performing her past relevant work." The ALJ further found that Wren

ha[d] the residual functional capacity to perform work-related activities except for work involving lifting and carrying more than ten pounds on an occasional basis with frequent lifting and carrying of items such as docket files, ledgers, and small tools as well as standing and walking on an alternating basis throughout the workday with the claimant being able to sit the majority of the workday.

(citing 20 C.F.R. Sec. 404.1545 and Sec. 416.945). Moreover, the ALJ determined that "[t]he claimant's past relevant work as a seamstress did not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the above limitation(s)." (citing 20 C.F.R. Sec. 404.1565 and Sec. 416.965).

C. REVIEW OF SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

The scope of review by this Court is as follows:

In reviewing disability determinations by the Secretary, this Court's role is limited to determining whether substantial evidence exists in the record, considered as a whole, to support the Secretary's factual findings and whether any errors of law were made.... To be substantial, evidence must be relevant and sufficient for a reasonable mind to accept as adequate to support a conclusion; it must be more than a scintilla but it need not be a preponderance.... We may not reweigh the evidence or substitute our judgment for that of the Secretary, but we must scrutinize the record in its entirety to ascertain whether substantial evidence does indeed support the Secretary's findings.

Anderson v. Sullivan, 887 F.2d 630, 633 (5th Cir.1989) (citation omitted).

To determine whether substantial evidence of disability exists, four elements of proof must be weighted: 1) objective medical facts; 2) diagnoses and opinions of treating and examining physicians; 3) claimant's subjective evidence of pain and disability; and 4) claimant's age, education, and work history. DePaepe v. Richardson, 464 F.2d 92, 94 (5th Cir.1972). The ALJ and the district court weighed the following:

1) Objective medical evidence. The record contains...

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1060 practice notes
  • Burton v. Astrue, CIVIL ACTION NO. H-09-710
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Texas
    • August 19, 2011
    ...[s]he will be found disabled.Anthony, 954 F.2d at 293; see also Leggett v. Chater, 67 F.3d 558, 563 n.2 (5th Cir. 1995); Wren v. Sullivan, 925 F.2d 123, 125 (5th Cir. 1991). Under this process, the claimant bears the burden of proof on the first four steps of the analysis to establish that ......
  • Brown v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., CIVIL ACTION NO. 6:12CV804
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • March 24, 2014
    ...Latham v. Shalala, 36 F.3d 482, 483 (5th Cir. 1994). A claimant for disability has the burden of proving a disability. Wren v. Sullivan, 925 F.2d 123, 125 (5th Cir. 1991). The Act defines "disability" as an "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically ......
  • Acosta v. Astrue, No. EP–10–CV–00471–DCG.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • March 2, 2012
    ...and (4) the claimant's age, education, and work history.” Perez v. Barnhart, 415 F.3d 457, 462 (5th Cir.2005) (citing Wren v. Sullivan, 925 F.2d 123, 126 (5th Cir.1991)). The court must scrutinize the entire record to determine whether such evidence is present, but it may not reweigh the ev......
  • Mulet-Rivera v. Barnhart, No. CIV.A.H 05 1850.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • June 22, 2006
    ...the claimant's age, educational background, and work history. See Martinez v. Chater, 64 F.3d 172, 174 (5th Cir.1995); Wren v. Sullivan, 925 F.2d 123, 126 (5th Cir.1991) (citing DePaepe v. Richardson, 464 F.2d 92, 94 (5th Cir. 1972)). Any conflicts in the evidence are to be resolved by the ......
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1060 cases
  • Burton v. Astrue, CIVIL ACTION NO. H-09-710
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Texas
    • August 19, 2011
    ...[s]he will be found disabled.Anthony, 954 F.2d at 293; see also Leggett v. Chater, 67 F.3d 558, 563 n.2 (5th Cir. 1995); Wren v. Sullivan, 925 F.2d 123, 125 (5th Cir. 1991). Under this process, the claimant bears the burden of proof on the first four steps of the analysis to establish that ......
  • Brown v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., CIVIL ACTION NO. 6:12CV804
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • March 24, 2014
    ...Latham v. Shalala, 36 F.3d 482, 483 (5th Cir. 1994). A claimant for disability has the burden of proving a disability. Wren v. Sullivan, 925 F.2d 123, 125 (5th Cir. 1991). The Act defines "disability" as an "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically ......
  • Acosta v. Astrue, No. EP–10–CV–00471–DCG.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • March 2, 2012
    ...and (4) the claimant's age, education, and work history.” Perez v. Barnhart, 415 F.3d 457, 462 (5th Cir.2005) (citing Wren v. Sullivan, 925 F.2d 123, 126 (5th Cir.1991)). The court must scrutinize the entire record to determine whether such evidence is present, but it may not reweigh the ev......
  • Mulet-Rivera v. Barnhart, No. CIV.A.H 05 1850.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • June 22, 2006
    ...the claimant's age, educational background, and work history. See Martinez v. Chater, 64 F.3d 172, 174 (5th Cir.1995); Wren v. Sullivan, 925 F.2d 123, 126 (5th Cir.1991) (citing DePaepe v. Richardson, 464 F.2d 92, 94 (5th Cir. 1972)). Any conflicts in the evidence are to be resolved by the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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