United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
CHRISTINE M. ROBERTS, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KIMBERLY E. WEST UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Christine M. Roberts (“Claimant”) requests
judicial review of the decision of the Commissioner of the
Social Security Administration (the
“Commissioner”) denying Claimant's
applications 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 REVERSED and the case REMANDED
for further proceedings.
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 42 years old at the time of the ALJ's decision.
Claimant completed her education through the eighth grade.
Claimant has worked in the past as a nurse's aide, sales
clerk, and retail store manager. Claimant alleges an
inability to work beginning September 22, 2009 due to
limitations caused by pain in the shoulders, fibromyalgia,
arthritis, severe back and knee problems, and foot pain.
September 25, 2012, Claimant protectively filed for
disability insurance benefits under Title II (42 U.S.C.
§ 401, et seq.) and 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.
On October 23, 2014, a hearing was held before ALJ Doug
Gabbard, II in McAlester, Oklahoma. By decision dated January
13, 2015, the ALJ found that Claimant was not disabled during
the relevant period and denied Claimant's request for
benefits. On July 7, 2016, the Appeals Council denied review
of the ALJ's decision. Thus, 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 four of the sequential evaluation.
He determined that while Claimant suffered from severe
impairments, she did not meet a listing and retained the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform
her past relevant work.
Alleged for Review
asserts the ALJ committed error in (1) failing to properly
evaluate the medical source evidence; and (2) failing to
perform a proper credibility determination.