United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
P. SHREDER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
claimant Karrie Ann Shannon requests judicial review pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of the decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying
her application for benefits under the Social Security Act.
She appeals the decision of the Commissioner and asserts that
the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in
determining she was not disabled. As discussed below, the
undersigned Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that the
Commissioner's decision be REVERSED and the case REMANDED
to the ALJ for further proceedings.
Security Law and Standard of Review
under the Social Security Act is defined as the
“inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment[.]” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). A
claimant is disabled under the Social Security Act
“only if h[er] physical or mental impairment or
impairments are of such severity that [s]he is not only
unable to do h[er] previous work but cannot, considering
h[er] age, education, and work experience, engage in any
other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the
national economy[.]” 42 U.S.C. § 423 (d)(2)(A).
Social security regulations implement a five-step sequential
process to evaluate a disability claim. See 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920.
review of the Commissioner's determination is limited in
scope by 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). This Court's review is
limited to two inquiries: whether the decision was supported
by substantial evidence, and whether the correct legal
standards were applied. See Hawkins v. Chater, 113
F.3d 1162, 1164 (10th Cir. 1997) [citation omitted]. The term
“substantial evidence” requires
“‘more than a mere scintilla. It means 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). However, the Court may not reweigh the evidence nor
substitute its discretion for that of the agency. See
Casias v. Secretary of Health & Human Services, 933
F.2d 799, 800 (10th Cir. 1991). Nevertheless, the Court must
review the record as a whole, and “[t]he substantiality
of evidence must take into account whatever in the record
fairly detracts from its weight.” Universal Camera
Corp. v. NLRB, 340 U.S. 474, 488 (1951); see also
Casias, 933 F.2d at 800-01.
claimant was born on December 20, 1973, and was thirty-nine
years old at the time of the administrative hearing (Tr. 89).
She completed four or more years of college, and has worked
as a safety inspector and general inspector (Tr. 76, 254).
The claimant alleges she has been unable to work since June
30, 2003, due to back pain, fibromyalgia, gout, rheumatoid
arthritis, joint pain, stiffness, myopia, astigmatism, dry
eye syndrome, renal calculi, blepharitis, bilateral heel
spurs, and swollen lymph nodes (Tr. 253).
November 2, 2012, the claimant applied for disability
insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act,
42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434. Her application was denied.
ALJ Bernard Porter held an administrative hearing and
determined the claimant was not disabled in a written
decision dated March 17, 2014 (Tr. 64-78). The Appeals
Council denied review, so the ALJ's written decision
represents the final decision of the Commissioner for
purposes of this appeal. See 20 C.F.R. §
of the Administrative Law Judge
made his decision at step five of the sequential evaluation.
He found that from June 30, 2003 through December 31, 2006,
her date last insured, the claimant retained the residual
functional capacity (RFC) to perform a range of sedentary
work, but could occasionally climb ramps and stairs, and
never climb ladders or scaffolds, crawl, work around
unprotected heights or moving mechanical parts, or work in
temperature extremes. He further found that time off tasks
would be accommodated by normal breaks, but that she would be
allowed a sit/stand option to change positions every thirty
minutes (Tr. 69). The ALJ concluded that although the
claimant could not return to her past relevant work, she was
nevertheless not disabled because there was work she could
perform, i. e., touch-up screener, suture winder,
and table worker (Tr. 76-77).
claimant contends that the ALJ failed to: (i) evaluate the
opinion of her chiropractor, (ii) properly consider her
subjective symptoms, and (iii) account for all her
impairments in formulating the RFC. The undersigned
Magistrate Judge agrees with the claimant's second
contention, and the Commissioner's decision should
therefore be reversed.
determined that the claimant had the severe impairments of
kidney stones, gout, obesity, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid
arthritis, cervical, thoracic, and lumbar strain, and sleep
apnea, as well as the nonsevere impairments of myopia,
astigmatism, dry eye syndrome, blepharitis, heel spurs, and
swollen lymph nodes (Tr. 68). The medical evidence during the
relevant time period (June 2003 through December 2006)
reveals that the claimant was treated for a viral upper
respiratory infection (Tr. 529-530), and one kidney stone
(Tr. 613, 737), and treatment notes from this time reflect
she had a history of rheumatoid arthritis (Tr. 547). In 2004,
the claimant gave birth (Tr. 1244). Her obstetrician prepared
a letter ...