United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SHREDER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
claimant David Ray Connor requests judicial review of a
denial of benefits by the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). He
appeals the Commissioner's decision and asserts that the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in
determining he was not disabled. For the reasons discussed
below, the Commissioner's decision is hereby AFFIRMED.
Security Law and Standard of Review
under the Social Security Act is defined as the
“inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment[.]” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). A
claimant is disabled under the Social Security Act
“only if his physical or mental impairment or
impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable
to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age,
education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of
substantial gainful work which exists in the national
economy[.]” Id. § 423 (d)(2)(A). Social
security regulations implement a five-step sequential process
to evaluate a disability claim. See 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520, 416.920.
405(g) limits the scope of judicial review of the
Commissioner's decision to two inquiries: whether the
decision was supported by substantial evidence and whether
correct legal standards were applied. See Hawkins v.
Chater, 113 F.3d 1162, 1164 (10th Cir. 1997).
Substantial evidence is “‘more than a mere
scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable
mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.'” Richardson v. Perales, 402
U.S. 389, 401 (1971), quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v.
NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938); see also Clifton v.
Chater, 79 F.3d 1007, 1009 (10th Cir. 1996). The Court
may not reweigh the evidence or substitute its discretion for
the Commissioner's. See Casias v. Secretary of Health
& Human Services, 933 F.2d 799, 800 (10th Cir.
1991). But the Court must review the record as a whole, and
“[t]he substantiality of evidence must take into
account whatever in the record fairly detracts from its
weight.” Universal Camera Corp. v. NLRB, 340
U.S. 474, 488 (1951); see also Casias, 933 F.2d at
claimant was born on November 28, 1967, and was forty-six
years old at the time of the administrative hearing (Tr. 33).
He has a high school education, and has worked as a security
guard (Tr. 35, 49). The claimant alleges that he has been
unable to work since July 5, 2012, due to back problems,
hypertension, and anxiety (Tr. 153).
September 4, 2012, the claimant applied for disability
insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act,
42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434 (Tr. 133-34). His application
was denied. ALJ Bernard Porter conducted an administrative
hearing and determined that the claimant was not disabled in
a written opinion dated October 2, 2014 (Tr. 13-24). The
Appeals Council denied review, so the ALJ's opinion is
the final decision of the Commissioner for purposes of this
appeal. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.981.
of the Administrative Law Judge
ALJ made his decision at step five of the sequential
evaluation. He found that the claimant had the residual
functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform sedentary
work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(a) with frequent
balancing, stooping, and crouching; occasional using foot
controls, kneeling, and climbing ramps and stairs; and never
crawling or climbing ropes, ladders, or stairs (Tr. 17). The
ALJ further found the claimant must not work around
unprotected heights or moving mechanical parts, and should
avoid exposure to environments where there are temperature
extremes (Tr. 17).
the ALJ found the claimant required a sit/stand option
allowing a change in position at least every thirty minutes,
lasting no more than three to four minutes at a time (Tr.
17). Due to psychologically based factors, the ALJ found the
claimant could perform simple tasks, make simple work-related
decisions, and have no more than occasional interaction with
supervisors, co-workers, and the public (Tr. 17). The ALJ
also found that the claimant's time off task would be
accommodated by normal breaks (Tr. 17). The ALJ then
concluded that although the claimant could not return to his
past relevant work, he was nevertheless not disabled because
there was work that he could perform in the national economy,
e. g., document preparer, touchup screener, and
semiconductor bonder (Tr. 22-24).
claimant contends that the ALJ erred by failing to properly:
(i) account for his moderate difficulty in maintaining
concentration, persistence, or pace, and (ii) assess his
credibility. The Court finds the ...