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Herring v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

January 26, 2018

CORALYNN HERRING, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          SHON T. ERWIN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff 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 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).

         The 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 AFFRIMS the Commissioner's decision.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Initially 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. 10-18). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (TR. 1-3). Thus, the decision of the ALJ became the final decision of the Commissioner.

         II. THE ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION

         The ALJ 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. § 416.920. At step one, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 31, 2014, the application date. (TR. 12). At step two, the ALJ determined Ms. Herring had the following severe impairments: affective disorder, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (TR. 12). 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. 14).

         At step four, the ALJ concluded that Ms. Herring retained the residual functional capacity (RFC) to:

[P]erform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: Work must be limited to simple, routine, and repetitive tasks. The claimant can occasionally have interaction with coworkers and supervisors and only superficial and no direct contact with the public. The claimant is able to read only simple language and signage.

(TR. 15). At step four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had no past relevant work. (TR. 17).

         As a result, the ALJ proceeded to 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 with her RFC. (TR. 51). Given the limitations, the VE identified three jobs from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). (TR. 51-52).

         The ALJ adopted the testimony of the VE and concluded that Ms. Herring was not disabled based on her ability to perform the identified jobs. (TR. 17-18).

         III. ISSUES PRESENTED

         On appeal, Plaintiff alleges the ALJ erred in her consideration of: (1) evidence of Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scores from Physician's Assistant Richard Hanes and Drs. Fatema Haque and Rajeswara Bhupathiraju and (2) an opinion from consultative psychologist Dr. Cynthia Repanshek.

         IV. ...


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