United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ERWIN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for
judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of
the Social Security Administration denying Plaintiff's
application for benefits under the Social Security Act. The
Commissioner has answered and filed a transcript of the
administrative record (hereinafter TR.___). The parties have
consented to jurisdiction over this matter by a United States
Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
parties have briefed their positions, and the matter is now
at issue. Based on the Court's review of the record and
the issues presented, the Court REVERSES AND
REMANDS the Commissioner's decision.
and on reconsideration, the Social Security Administration
denied Plaintiff's application for benefits. Following an
administrative hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
issued an unfavorable decision. (TR. 18-33). The Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (TR. 1-3).
Thus, the decision of the ALJ became the final decision of
THE ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
followed the five-step sequential evaluation process required
by agency regulations. See Fischer-Ross v. Barnhart,
431 F.3d 729, 731 (10th Cir. 2005); 20 C.F.R. § 404.920.
At step one, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity between his alleged
onset date of February 4, 2008 through his last date insured,
June 30, 2013. (TR. 20). At step two, the ALJ determined Mr.
Ricketts had the following severe impairments: degenerative
disc disease of the back; diabetes; obesity; depressive
disorder; and anxiety disorder. (TR. 20). At step three, the
ALJ found that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or
medically equal any of the presumptively disabling
impairments listed at 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix
1 (TR. 21).
four, the ALJ concluded that Mr. Ricketts retained the
residual functional capacity (RFC) to:
[P]erform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) in
that the claimant was able to lift, carry, push and/or pull
ten pounds occasionally and less than ten pounds frequently;
sit for the total of six hours throughout an eight-hour
workday; and, stand and/or walk the total of two hours
throughout an eight-hour workday. The claimant was able to
occasionally kneel, crouch, crawl, stoop, and climb ramps and
stairs, but was not able to climb ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds. The claimant was able to adapt to work situations.
The claimant was able to perform simple and some complex
tasks with routine supervision. The claimant was able to
interact appropriately with supervisors and co-workers and
have occasional public contact, but no customer service work.
(TR. 24). With this RFC, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was
unable to perform any past relevant work. (TR. 32). As a
result, the ALJ made additional findings at step five. There,
the ALJ presented several limitations to a vocational expert
(VE) to determine whether there were other jobs in the
national economy that Plaintiff could perform. (TR. 64).
Given the limitations, the VE identified three jobs from the
Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). (TR. 64-65). The ALJ
adopted the testimony of the VE and concluded that Mr.
Ricketts was not disabled based on his ability to perform the
identified jobs. (TR. 33).
appeal, Plaintiff alleges the ALJ erred in her consideration
of a treating physician's opinion which, in turn,
affected the RFC and step five findings.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court reviews the Commissioner's final “decision to
determin[e] whether the factual findings are supported by
substantial evidence in the record and whether the correct
legal standards were applied.” Wilson v.
Astrue, 602 F.3d 1136, 1140 (10th Cir. 2010).
“Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a