United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
L.RUSSELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are the Report and Recommendation of United States
Magistrate Judge Gary M. Purcell [Doc. 19], and
Plaintiff's Objections to the Report and Recommendation
[Doc. 20]. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), the
Court reviews the Report and Recommendation de novo in light
of Plaintiff's Objections.
some short background. Plaintiff is challenging the Social
Security Commissioner's decision to deny his application
for disability insurance and supplemental security income
benefits under Title II and Title XVI of the Social Security
Act (SSA). The Commissioner based his decision on the opinion
of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), who found that
Plaintiff is not disabled within the meaning of the SSA
because, while Plaintiff has some limitations, there are jobs
he can still perform in the national economy. In arriving at
that conclusion, the ALJ made several findings:
. Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since May 16, 2013-his amended alleged onset
. Plaintiff did have some severe
impairments: peripheral vascular disease (PVD),
asthma/emphysema, plantar swelling, paroxysmal atrial
fibrillation, and status post remote left inguinal hernia
. Though these impairments, taken in
isolation or in combination, did not meet or equal the
requirements of impairments listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404,
Subpart P, App. 1, they did result in a residual functional
capacity (RFC) to perform work at a light exertional level
with some physical limitations:
[Plaintiff can] lift and carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10
pounds frequently[, ] sit for about 6 hours during an
eight-hour workday and can stand and walk for about 6 hours
during an eight-hour workday[, and can] occasionally climb,
balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl.
Transcript, Doc. 11, at 15.
. Given these impairments, Plaintiff could
not perform the jobs he had performed in the past. He could,
however, perform other jobs that exist in the national
economy, including price marker, cashier clerk II, and fruit
the ALJ issued his decision, the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiffs request for review, thus making final the decision
of the Commissioner. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.981,
416.1481; See Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d 1048, 1051
(10th Cir. 2009). On review, the Magistrate Judge
considered-and rejected-Plaintiffs arguments that (1) the ALJ
failed to properly consider the opinion of Plaintiff s
treating physician, Dr. Samant, and (2) that the ALJ erred in
discounting Plaintiffs credibility. See Doc. 20, at
Plaintiff's arguments in his Objection are old. Some are
new. Some overlap. For clarity's sake, the Court will
address them in three parts. The Court reviews the
Commissioner's decision to determine whether the factual
findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record
and whether the correct legal standards were applied.
Andrade v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs.,
985 F.2d 1045, 1047 (10th Cir. 1993). Substantial evidence is
“such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion, ”
Fowler v. Bowen, 876 F.2d 1451, 1453 (10th Cir.
1989), and “requires more than a scintilla, but less
than a preponderance.” Lax v. Astrue, 489 F.3d
1080, 1084 (10th Cir. 2007). “Evidence is not
substantial if it is overwhelmed by other evidence in the
record or constitutes mere conclusion.” Grogan v.
Barnhart, 399 F.3d 1257, 1261-62 (10th Cir. 2005). While
the Court will “consider whether the ALJ followed the
specific rules of law that must be followed in weighing
particular types of evidence in disability cases . . . [the
Court] will not reweigh the evidence or substitute [its]
judgment for the Commissioner's.” Hackett v.
Barnhart, 395 F.3d 1168, 1172 (10th Cir. 2005).
first complains that the ALJ focused exclusively on the
reports from Dr. Winkler, who physically examined Plaintiff
several times, rather than the reports and opinion of Dr.
Samant. Further-and perhaps conceding that the ALJ did not
entirely ignore Dr. Samant's findings-Plaintiff contends
that the ALJ failed to consider all the findings of
ALJ's decision, though, does not bear out Plaintiff's
claims. For one, the ALJ did not rely exclusively on the
report from Dr. Winkler; instead the ALJ specifically
acknowledged several of Dr. Samant's findings, including
that Plaintiff had paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and PVD in
September 2014. Doc. 11, at 16. Moreover, the ALJ concurred
with Dr. Samant's findings that Plaintiff could only lift
and carry 10 pounds frequently, id. at 15, and that
Plaintiff had plantar swelling. Id. at 16. He also
considered the ALJ's observations that Plaintiff could
only stand and walk twenty minutes per day and that Plaintiff
could not walk 200 feet without stopping to rest.
Id. at 17. To say that the ALJ ignored Dr.
Samant's findings does not account for the ALJ's
the Court did not regurgitate every bit of evidence recorded
from the numerous visits Plaintiff made to Dr. Samant. Yet
that alone does not invalidate the reasoning of the ALJ and
the Magistrate Judge. “The record must demonstrate that
the ALJ considered all of the evidence, but an ALJ is not
required to discuss every piece of evidence.”
Clifton v. Chater, 79 F.3d 1007, 1009-10 (10th Cir.
1996). And the record demonstrates just that. The ALJ stated
in his decision that he had taken “careful
consideration of the entire record.” Doc. 11, at 15.
“The Court take[s] the ALJ at his word, unless shown