United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
T. 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
applications for disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income 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 AFFIRMS the
and on reconsideration, the Social Security Administration
denied Plaintiff's applications for benefits. Following
an administrative hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
issued an unfavorable decision. (TR. 16-26). 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, 416.1520. At step one, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since November 20, 2012, the alleged onset date. (TR. 18). At
step two, the ALJ determined Ms. Van Horn had the following
severe impairments: major depressive disorder; bipolar
disorder; anxiety; remote history of cocaine use/sustained
remission; and ventral hernia, reducible. (TR. 18). 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 Ms. Van Horn retained the
residual functional capacity (RFC) to:
[P]erform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and
416.967(b) except the individual can occasionally stoop,
kneel, crouch and crawl. The individual can occasionally
climb ramps or stairs but should avoid climbing of ladders,
ropes, or scaffolds. The individual can perform simple and
routine tasks consistent with unskilled work involving no
interact [sic] with the general public and no more than
occasional interaction with co-workers and supervisors. The
individual would do better working with things and data than
(TR. 22). With this RFC, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was
unable to perform any past relevant work. (TR. 24). 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. 60-62).
Given the limitations, the VE identified three jobs from the
Dictionary of Occupational Titles. (TR. 61-62). The ALJ
adopted the testimony of the VE and concluded that Ms. Van
Horn was not disabled based on her ability to perform the
identified jobs. (TR. 26).
appeal, Plaintiff alleges the ALJ erred in her consideration
of: (1) an opinion from a consultative examining physician,
(2) a ventral hernia, and (3) panic attacks.
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
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Id. (quotation omitted).
the court considers whether the ALJ followed the applicable
rules of law in weighing particular types of evidence in
disability cases, the court will “neither reweigh the
evidence nor substitute [its] judgment for that of the
agency.” Vigil v. Colvin, 805 F.3d 1199, 1201
(10th Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks omitted).
THE CONSULTATIVE PSYCHOLOGIST'S OPINION
Horn alleges that the ALJ erred in her consideration of the
opinion from consultative examining psychologist, Dr.
Stephanie Crall. (ECF No. 17:2-5). According to Plaintiff:
(1) Dr. Crall's opinion regarding Plaintiff's likely
inability to work interfered with the ALJ's ultimate
finding that Ms. Van Horn could work, and (2) the ALJ failed
to explain why he had discounted the opinion and what weight
he had accorded the opinion. (ECF No. 17:2-5). The Court