United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
ROBERT L. MCINERNEY, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KIMBERLY E. WEST UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Robert L. McInerney (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
recommendation of the undersigned that the Commissioner's
decision be AFFIRMED.
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 51 years old at the time of the ALJ's latest
decision. Claimant completed his education through the tenth
grade. Claimant has worked in the past as a machine operator.
Claimant alleges an inability to work beginning September 1,
2005 due to limitations resulting from left wrist fracture,
carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine headaches, sleep
deprivation, thoracic and cervical spinal problems with
radiation, right arm and hand pain, and disorders of the
cervical and lumbar spine.
March 21, 2008, Claimant protectively filed for disability
insurance benefits under Title II (42 U.S.C. § 401,
et seq.) for supplemental security income pursuant
to Title XVI (42 U.S.C. § 1381, et seq.) of the
Social Security Act. Claimant's applications were denied
initially and upon reconsideration. After an administrative
hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
issued an unfavorable decision on January 21, 2010. On
appeal, the decision was reversed by this Court on September
second hearing on remand, the ALJ issued an unfavorable
decision on October 30, 2012. On March 24, 2014, the decision
was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings.
February 6, 2015, ALJ Lantz McClain conducted a hearing in
Tulsa, Oklahoma. He issued a third unfavorable decision on
March 20, 2015. The Appeals Council denied review on June 28,
2016. 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, he retained the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform light work with limitations.