United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
H. MCCARTHY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
PEGGY ANN CARR, seeks judicial review of a decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying
disability benefits. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §
636(c)(1) & (3), the parties have consented to proceed
before a United States Magistrate Judge.
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 decision is supported by
substantial evidence and whether the decision contains a
sufficient basis to determine that the Commissioner has
applied the correct legal standards. See Briggs ex rel.
Briggs v. Massanari, 248 F.3d 1235, 1237 (10th Cir.
2001); Winfrey v. Chater, 17');">17');">17');">17');">92 F.3d 1017');">17');">17');">17 (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., 993 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).
was 44 years old on the alleged date of onset of disability
and 50 years old on the date of the denial decision.
Plaintiff completed 11th grade and attained her General
Educational Degree (GED). Past work experience includes
psychiatric care aide. Plaintiff claims to have become
disabled as of February 14, 2009 due to Type 2 diabetes,
hypertension, depression, and neuropathy. [R. 148].
found that Plaintiff has severe impairments relating to
diabetes mellitus with neuropathy, obesity, and hypertension.
Glaucoma and side effects from medication were non-severe.
Fibromyalgia was regarded as medically nondeterminable. [R.
15]. The ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the residual
functional capacity to perform a light work in that she can
occasionally lift/carry 20 pounds and frequently lift/carry
10 pounds. In an 8-hour workday, Plaintiff is able to stand,
walk, and sit at least 6 hours. [R. 17');">17');">17');">17]. The ALJ determined
that Plaintiff is unable to perform any past relevant work
but found based on the testimony of the vocational expert,
there are a significant number of jobs in the national
economy that Plaintiff could perform. [R. 20-21].
Accordingly, the ALJ found Plaintiff was not disabled. The
case was thus decided at step five of the five-step
evaluative sequence for determining whether a claimant is
disabled. See Williams v. Bowen, 844 F.2d 748,
750-52 (10th Cir. 1988) (discussing five steps in detail).
asserts that the ALJ failed to properly evaluate the medical
opinion evidence. [Dkt. 17');">17');">17');">17, p. 7].
A. Paris, Ph.D.
argues that the ALJ failed to explain the weight he accorded
to the opinion of psychological consultative examiner, Kenny
A. Paris, Ph.D., or evaluate his opinion under the relevant
factors. [Dkt. 17');">17');">17');">17, p. 8]. The following factors are ones to
be considered in weighing opinions from those who are not
defined in the regulations as “acceptable medical
sources”: how long the source has known and how
frequently the source has seen the individual; consistency of
the opinion with other evidence; the degree to which the
source presents relevant evidence to support an opinion; how
well the opinion is explained; whether the source has a
specialty or area of expertise related to the
individual's impairment; and any other factors that tend
to support or refute the opinion. SSR 06-03p, 2006
WL 2329939 at *4-5. The Ruling instructs that not every
factor for weighing an opinion will apply in every case.
Rather, the evaluation of an opinion will depend on the
particular facts of the case and the case must be adjudicated
on its merits based on a consideration of the probative value
of the opinions and weighing of all the evidence in the case.
Id. at *5.
October 13, 2010 Dr. Paris prepared a Mental
Status/Diagnostic Examination noting Plaintiff drove herself
and arrived on time to the exam, hygiene and dress were
appropriate, and her posture and gait were normal. Plaintiff
reported she had never been hospitalized for psychiatric
reasons. Although her current pain level was an
“8" on a 10-point scale, she only took
over-the-counter pain medication. [R. 333-34]. Dr. Paris
diagnosed Plaintiff with mood disorder NOS (secondary to
medical conditions); anxiety disorder NOS; and R/O social
phobia. [R. 335]. Dr. Paris opined Plaintiff had average
intellectual functioning; [R. 335], memory skills were
slightly below average; and no significant problems with
persistence and pace. [R. 336]. Plaintiff's overall
cognitive level, ability to think abstractly, ability to
function appropriately socially and emotionally, and judgment
was estimated to be adequate. Dr. Paris found that ...