Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
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.

Bolding v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma

September 22, 2017

WILENE DENISE BOLDING, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, [1] Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          STEVEN P. SHREDER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         The claimant Wilene Denise Bolding requests judicial review of a denial of benefits by the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). She appeals the Commissioner's decision and asserts that the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in determining she was not disabled. For the reasons discussed below, the Commissioner's decision is hereby REVERSED and REMANDED to the ALJ for further proceedings.

         Social Security Law and Standard of Review

         Disability 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 h[er] physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that [s]he is not only unable to do h[er] previous work but cannot, considering h[er] age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy[.]” Id. § 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.[2]

         Section 405(g) limits the scope of judicial review of the Commissioner's decision to two inquiries: whether the decision was supported by substantial evidence and whether correct legal standards were applied. See Hawkins v. Chater, 113 F.3d 1162, 1164 (10th Cir. 1997). Substantial evidence is “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). See also Clifton v. Chater, 79 F.3d 1007, 1009 (10th Cir. 1996). The Court may not reweigh the evidence or substitute its discretion for the Commissioner's. See Casias v. Secretary of Health & Human Services, 933 F.2d 799, 800 (10th Cir. 1991). But the Court must review the record as a whole, and “[t]he 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.

         Claimant's Background

         The claimant was born December 14, 1966, and was forty-six years old at the time of the administrative hearing (Tr. 45, 132). She completed twelfth grade, and has worked as a beautician and companion (Tr. 63, 179). The claimant alleges inability to work since June 1, 2005, due to bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and arthritis (Tr. 178).

         Procedural History

         On April 26, 2012, the claimant applied for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434, and for supplemental benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381-85. The applications were denied. ALJ J. Frederick Gatzke conducted an administrative hearing and determined that the claimant was not disabled in a written opinion dated March 20, 2014 (Tr. 24-36). The Appeals Council denied review, so the ALJ's written opinion is the Commissioner's final decision for purposes of this appeal. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.981, 416.1481.

         Decision of the Administrative Law Judge

         The ALJ made his decision at steps four and five of the sequential evaluation. He found that the claimant had the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b), except that she could not climb ropes, ladders, or scaffolds. Additionally, he determined that she retained the ability to perform detailed, non-complex tasks, but should have only incidental contact with the public (Tr. 29). The ALJ then concluded that the claimant was not disabled because she had the RFC to perform her past work as a companion. Alternatively, he found that the claimant was not disabled because she could perform the jobs of garment bagger and price marker (Tr. 34-35).

         Review

         The claimant contends that the ALJ erred: (i) by failing to properly weigh the findings of consultative examiner, Dr. Shalom Palacio-Holmon, and (ii) by failing to properly evaluate her subjective symptoms. Because the ALJ does appear to have ignored probative evidence regarding the claimant's impairments, the decision of the Commissioner must be reversed.

         The ALJ determined that the claimant had the severe impairments of fibromyalgia, hypertension, obesity, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and major depressive disorder (Tr. 26). The relevant medical evidence demonstrates that the claimant received regular medication management (largely only pharmacological management) at Mental Health Services Durant (Tr. 281-343). Treatment notes reflect the claimant sometimes had difficulty sleeping, but that she also took a trip to California in 2011 to stay with a friend for five days (Tr. 287). In April 2012, the claimant reported continued stressors and the notes indicated that the claimant's mood was fair ...


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.