United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
MELISSA F. ROUNDS, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
KIMBERLY E. WEST UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Melissa F. Rounds (the “Claimant”) requests
judicial review of the decision of the Commissioner of the
Social Security Administration (the
“Commissioner”) denying Claimant's
application for disability benefits under the Social Security
Act. Claimant appeals the decision of the Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”) and asserts that the Commissioner
erred because the ALJ incorrectly determined that Claimant
was not disabled. For the reasons discussed below, it is the
finding of this Court that the Commissioner's decision
should be and is REVERSED and the case is REMANDED for
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 his physical or mental impairment or
impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable
to do his previous work but cannot, considering his 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: first, whether the decision was
supported by substantial evidence; and, second, whether the
correct legal standards were applied. Hawkins v.
Chater, 113 F.3d 1162, 1164 (10th Cir. 1997)(citation
omitted). The term “substantial evidence” has
been interpreted by the United States Supreme Court to
require “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)). The court may not re-weigh the evidence nor
substitute its discretion for that of the agency. Casias
v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs., 933 F.2d 799,
800 (10th Cir. 1991). Nevertheless, the court must review the
record as a whole, and the “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 800-01.
was born on June 25, 1979 and was 36 years old at the time of
the ALJ's decision. Claimant completed he education
through the tenth grade. Claimant has worked in the past as a
daycare center aide. Claimant alleges an inability to work
beginning October 2, 2007 due to limitations resulting from
affective mood disorder (bipolar) and seizures.
March 23, 2012, Claimant protectively filed for supplemental
security income pursuant to Title XVI (42 U.S.C. § 1381,
et seq.) of the Social Security Act. Claimant's
application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On
March 2, 2015, an administrative hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) B.D. Crutchfield
in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He issued an unfavorable decision on
August 8, 2015. The Appeals Council denied review of the
ALJ's decision on December 24, 2015. As a result, the
decision of the ALJ represents the Commissioner's final
decision for purposes of further appeal. 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.981, 416.1481.
of the Administrative Law Judge
made his decision at step five of the sequential evaluation.
He determined that while Claimant suffered from severe
impairments, she did not meet a listing and retained the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform a
full range of work at all exertional levels.
Alleged for Review
asserts the ALJ committed error in (1) reaching an RFC which
is not supported by substantial evidence; (2) finding at step
five that Claimant could perform other jobs; (3) performing
an erroneous credibility assessment; and (4) failing to fully
develop the record by obtaining further consultative
evaluations of Claimant's mental limitations.
Evaluation and Duty to ...