Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Durborow v. Berryhill

United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma

May 22, 2017

NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.


          FRANK H. MCCARTHY United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff, Dana Marie Durborow (also known as Dana Marie Batie), seeks judicial review of a decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying Social Security disability benefits.[1] In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1) & (3), the parties have consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge.

         Standard of Review

         The role of the court in reviewing the decision of the Commissioner under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) is limited to a determination of whether the record as a whole contains substantial evidence to support the decision and whether the correct legal standards were applied. See Briggs ex rel. Briggs v. Massanari, 248 F.3d 1235, 1237 (10th Cir. 2001); Winfrey v. Chater, 92 F.3d 1017 (10th Cir. 1996); Castellano v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs., 26 F.3d 1027, 1028 (10th Cir. 1994). Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla, less than a preponderance, and is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S.Ct. 1420, 1427, 28 L.Ed.2d 842 (1971) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)). The court may neither reweigh the evidence nor substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner. Casias v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs., 933 F.2d 799, 800 (10th Cir. 1991). Even if the court would have reached a different conclusion, if supported by substantial evidence, the Commissioner's decision stands. Hamilton v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs., 961 F.2d 1495 (10th Cir. 1992).


         Plaintiff was 52 years old on the alleged date of onset of disability and 53 on the date of the ALJ's denial decision. She has a high school education and formerly worked as a housekeeping cleaner, gambling cashier, and fence builder. She claims to have been unable to work since May 15, 2013 as a result of degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, obesity, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety.

         The ALJ's Decision

         The ALJ determined that Plaintiff retains the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(b) with the limitation of performing simple tasks with routine supervision, she can relate to co-workers and supervisors on a superficial work basis, but cannot relate to the public. [R. 45]. The ALJ found that she can perform her past relevant work as a housekeeping cleaner and further, based on the testimony of a vocational expert, the ALJ determined that there are a significant number of jobs in the national economy that Plaintiff could perform with these limitations. The case was thus decided at step four of the five-step evaluative sequence for determining whether a claimant is disabled with an alternative step five finding. See Williams v. Bowen, 844 F.2d 748, 750-52 (10th Cir. 1988) (discussing five steps in detail).

         Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff asserts that the ALJ erred in failing to give greater weight to the opinions expressed by her treating therapist and counselor, Ty Wood, M.A., L.P.C., B.H.C., and that failure affected the RFC finding.


         Social Security Ruling (SSR) 06-3p, 2006 WL 2329939, requires that opinions even from those who are not “acceptable medical sources” be evaluated and weighed. According to SSR 06-3p, information from those who are not “acceptable medical sources” cannot establish the existence of a medically determinable impairment, but information from those “other sources” may be based on special knowledge of the individual and may provide insight into the severity of the impairment and how it affects the ability to function. Id. at *2. Accordingly, SSR 06-3p instructs that information from “other sources” should be evaluated on the basis of how long the source has known the claimant and how frequently the source has seen the individual, the consistency with the other evidence, the degree to which the source presents relevant evidence to support an opinion, how well the source explains the opinion, whether the source has a particular expertise related to the individual's impairment, and any other factors that tend to support or refute the opinion. Id. at * 5.

         The ALJ stated he gave little or no weight to the opinion of Mr. Wood that Plaintiff was markedly limited: in the ability to complete a normal workday and workweek without interruption from psychologically based symptoms and to perform at a consistent pace without an unreasonable number and length of rest periods; and in the ability to accept instructions and respond appropriately to criticism from supervisors. [R. 50, 402]. Plaintiff argues that the reasons the ALJ stated in his decision for affording Mr. Wood's opinion little weight are not sound or well-supported by the record as a whole.

         In conformity with the Commissioner's regulations, 20 C.F.R. § 404.1513(d), 416.913(d), the ALJ noted that Mr. Wood is not an acceptable medical source, but that his evidence could be used to show the severity of an impairment or how it affects an individual's ability to work. [R. 50]. The ALJ accurately noted that Mr. Wood had only treated Plaintiff for two months at the time he issued his opinion about Plaintiff's ability to perform work-related activities. Further, the ALJ observed that Mr. Wood's treatment dealt mainly with family issues and conflict. The ALJ stated ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.