United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
J. CLEARY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Roger Edwin Sitton, seeks judicial review of a decision of
the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
denying Social Security disability benefits. In accordance
with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1) & (3), the parties have
consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge.
role of the court in reviewing the decision of the
Commissioner under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) is limited to a
determination of whether the record as a whole contains
substantial evidence to support the decision and whether the
correct legal standards were applied. See Briggs ex rel.
Briggs v. Massanari, 248 F.3d 1235, 1237 (10th Cir.
2001); Winfrey v. Chater, 92 F.3d 1017 (10th Cir.
1996); Castellano v. Secretary of Health & Human
Servs., 26 F.3d 1027, 1028 (10th Cir. 1994). Substantial
evidence is more than a scintilla, less than a preponderance,
and is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S.Ct. 1420, 1427, 28
L.Ed.2d 842 (1971) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v.
NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)). The court may neither
reweigh the evidence nor substitute its judgment for that of
the Commissioner. Casias v. Secretary of Health &
Human Servs., 933 F.2d 799, 800 (10th Cir. 1991). Even
if the court would have reached a different conclusion, if
supported by substantial evidence, the Commissioner's
decision stands. Hamilton v. Secretary of Health &
Human Servs., 961 F.2d 1495 (10th Cir. 1992).
was 45 years old on the alleged date of onset of disability
and 53 at the time of the ALJ's denial decision. He has a
high school education, attended Tulsa Welding School, and
formerly worked as a heavy equipment operator and TIG welder.
He claims to have been unable to work since December 19,
2007, as a result of knee pain following four left knee
surgeries and two right knee surgeries, hip pain, history of
coronary catheterizations, myocardial infarction requiring
balloon angioplasty, and chest pain, schizophrenia,
hallucinations, and depression.
determined that Plaintiff retains the residual functional
capacity (RFC) to perform work involving lifting and/or
carrying, and pushing and/or pulling 50 pounds occasionally
and 25 pounds frequently, standing and/or walking for 6 hours
out of an 8-hour workday, sitting for 6-8 hours in an 8-hour
workday, all with normal breaks. He is limited to simple and
routine work with no more than superficial contact with
coworkers or supervisors “and no close proximity to
coworkers, ” as well as no contact with the public. [R.
Plaintiff is unable to perform his past relevant work, based
on the testimony of a vocational expert, the ALJ determined
that there are a significant number of jobs in the national
economy that Plaintiff could perform with these limitations.
The case was thus decided at step five of the five-step
evaluative sequence for determining whether a claimant is
disabled. See Williams v. Bowen, 844 F.2d 748,
750-52 (10th Cir. 1988) (discussing five steps in detail).
asserts that the testimony of the vocational expert does not
constitute substantial evidence to support the ALJ's
decision because the ALJ's hypothetical question posed to
the vocational expert did not include all of the limitations
contained in the ALJ's RFC finding. Plaintiff also argues
that the ALJ failed to properly evaluate the medical opinion
of Hypothetical Question to Vocational Expert
long been the rule that "testimony elicited by
hypothetical questions that do not relate with precision all
the claimants' impairments cannot constitute substantial
evidence to support the [Commissioner's] decision."
Hargis v. Sullivan,945 F.2d 1482, 1492 (10th Cir.
1991). In this case the ALJ's hypothetical question to
the vocational expert did not contain the limitation
contained in the RFC that Plaintiff could have “no
close proximity to ...