United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
MATTHEW A. DAVIS, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BERNARD M. JONES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Matthew A. Davis, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) for judicial review of the Social Security
Administration's final decision finding he was not
disabled under the Social Security Act. The parties have
consented to the exercise of jurisdiction over this matter by
a United States Magistrate Judge. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c). The Commissioner has filed the Administrative
Record (AR) [Doc. No. 15], and both parties have briefed
their respective positions. For the reasons stated below, the
Court reverses the Commissioner's decision and remands
the matter for further proceedings.
February 11, 2014, Plaintiff protectively filed an
application for disability insurance benefits (DIB).
See AR 12. The Social Security Administration (SSA)
denied the application initially and on reconsideration. AR
54, 68. Following a hearing, an Administrative Law Judge
(ALJ) issued an unfavorable decision dated September 18,
2015. AR 9-29. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's
request for review. AR 1-6. Thus, the decision of the ALJ
became the final decision of the Commissioner. Plaintiff
seeks judicial review of this final agency decision.
The ALJ's Decision
followed the sequential evaluation process required by agency
regulations. See Fischer-Ross v. Barnhart, 431 F.3d
729, 731 (10th Cir. 2005) (explaining five-step sequential
evaluation process); see also 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520. The ALJ first determined Plaintiff had not engaged
in substantial gainful activity since February 11, 2014, the
amended alleged onset date. AR 14.
two, the ALJ determined Plaintiff suffered from the severe
impairments of malignant tumor, depressive disorder, anxiety
disorder, and substance abuse. AR 15. At step three, the ALJ found
Plaintiff's impairments do not meet or medically equal
any of the impairments listed at 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1. AR 15-17.
next determined Plaintiff's residual functional capacity
[Plaintiff] has the residual functional capacity to perform
medium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c) as follows:
He can lift/carry up to 50 pounds occasionally, 25 pounds
frequently; push/pull limitations are consistent with
lift/carry limitations; stand/walk for six hours out of an
eight-hour workday; sit for eight hours out of an eight-hour
workday; can perform simple, routine and repetitive tasks;
must be in a habituated work setting and object oriented
setting; only superficial contact with co-workers and
supervisors and no contact with the public.
AR 17-24. The ALJ determined Plaintiff was unable to perform
any past relevant work. AR 24. Relying on the testimony of a
vocational expert (VE), the ALJ found there were other jobs
that existed in significant numbers in the national economy
that Plaintiff could perform-hand packager, warehouse worker,
and kitchen helper. AR 24-25. The ALJ concluded, therefore,
that Plaintiff was not disabled for purposes of the Social
Security Act. AR 25.
Issues Presented for Judicial Review
contends the ALJ erred in weighing the opinion evidence
regarding his mental conditions from his treating physician,
the consultative examiner, and the state-agency physicians.
Plaintiff also asserts the RFC assessment was not supported
by the evidence. The Court finds that the ALJ erred in
weighing the opinion of his treating physician. The Court
does not reach the Plaintiff's other allegations.