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 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).
careful consideration, the Court concludes the ALJ failed to
properly consider the medical evidence supporting a
conclusion that Plaintiff's severe back impairment could
meet or equal the clinical criteria for an award of benefits
under § 1.04A of the Listing of Impairments. Therefore,
the Court REVERSES AND REMANDS the
Commissioner's decision for further administrative
and on reconsideration, the Social Security Administration
denied Plaintiff's applications for disability insurance
benefits and supplemental security income. Following an
administrative hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
issued an unfavorable decision. (TR. 13-26). The Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, and the
decision of the ALJ became the final decision of the
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. §404.1520.
At step one, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 20,
2011, the alleged disability onset date. (TR. 15).
two, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had one severe impairment-
degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine,
post-surgical-and several non-severe conditions including
hypertension, GERD, depression, insomnia and anxiety (TR.
three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's severe and
non-severe 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. 18). The ALJ summarized
the clinical criteria for meeting Listing 1.04, but she did
not discuss how the evidence supported her conclusion. (TR.
four, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the residual
functional capacity (RFC) to perform sedentary work with
certain postural limitations. (TR. 18-19). With this RFC, the
ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was not capable of performing
his past relevant work as a truck driver. (TR. 24). At step
five, the ALJ relied on the testimony of a vocational expert
(VE) and determined there were other jobs in the national
economy that Plaintiff could perform. The VE identified three
such jobs by description and code from the Dictionary of
Occupational Titles (DOT). (TR. 73-74). The ALJ concluded
Plaintiff was not disabled based on his ability to perform
the identified jobs. (TR. 25-26).
appeal, Plaintiff alleges the ALJ erred: (1) by failing to
discuss significantly probative evidence that conflicted with
her findings, (2) by failing to support her assessment of
Plaintiff's subjective statements with substantial
evidence in the record, and (3) by failing to sufficiently
analyze Listing 1.04A at step three of the sequential
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