United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SHREDER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
claimant Shana Lynette Andrews requests judicial review of a
denial of benefits by the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). She
appeals the Commissioner's decision and asserts that the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in
determining she was not disabled. For the reasons discussed
below, the Commissioner's decision is hereby REVERSED and
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[.]” Id. § 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.
405(g) limits the scope of judicial review of the
Commissioner's decision to two inquiries: whether the
decision was supported by substantial evidence and whether
correct legal standards were applied. See Hawkins v.
Chater, 113 F.3d 1162, 1164 (10th Cir. 1997).
Substantial evidence is “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). See also Clifton v. Chater, 79 F.3d
1007, 1009 (10th Cir. 1996). The Court may not reweigh the
evidence or substitute its discretion for the
Commissioner's. See Casias v. Secretary of Health
& Human Services, 933 F.2d 799, 800 (10th Cir.
1991). But the Court must review the record as a whole, and
“[t]he substantiality of the 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
claimant was born March 31, 1986, and was twenty-eight years
old at the time of the administrative hearing (Tr. 36). She
completed eighth grade, and has no past relevant work (Tr.
22, 246). The claimant alleges inability to work since April
26, 2012, due to bipolar disorder, depressive disorder, and
anxiety (Tr. 245).
April 26, 2012, the claimant applied for supplemental
benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42
U.S.C. §§ 1381-85. The application was denied. ALJ
B.D. Crutchfield conducted an administrative hearing and
determined that the claimant was not disabled in a written
opinion dated July 25, 2014 (Tr. 12-23). The Appeals Council
denied review, so the ALJ's written opinion is the
Commissioner's final decision for purposes of this
appeal. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.1481.
of the Administrative Law Judge
made her decision at step five of the sequential evaluation.
She found that the claimant had the residual functional
capacity (RFC) to perform a full range of work at all
exertional levels, but with the nonexertional limitations of
being limited to simple, routine tasks because the claimant
had no past relevant work, and only occasional contact with
the public (Tr. 17). The ALJ concluded that although the
claimant had no past relevant work to return to, she was
nevertheless not disabled because she could perform the
representative occupations of sorting jobs and hand packer
claimant contends that the ALJ erred: (i) by failing to
properly weigh the findings of consultative examiner Dr.
Kenny A. Paris, (ii) by failing to include all her
limitations in the RFC assessment, and (iii) by failing to
properly evaluate her subjective symptoms. Because the ALJ
does appear to have ignored probative evidence regarding the
claimant's impairments, the decision of the Commissioner
must be reversed.
determined that the claimant had the severe impairments of
depression and anxiety, as well as the nonsevere impairment
of inflammatory pelvic disease (Tr. 147). The relevant
medical evidence demonstrates that the claimant was largely
treated on a regular basis at a clinic in Westville,
Oklahoma, including treatment at various times for ...