United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
SHELLY L. CAMPBELL, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BERNARD M. JONES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Shelly L. Campbell, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) for judicial review of the Social Security
Administration's final decision finding she 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. 9], and both parties have briefed their
respective positions.For the reasons stated below, the
Commissioner's decision is affirmed.
9, 2014, Plaintiff protectively filed an application for
supplemental security income. See AR 20. The Social
Security Administration denied the application initially and
on reconsideration. AR 96, 107. Following a hearing, an
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an unfavorable decision
dated November 2, 2016. AR 17-39. 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. Krauser v. Astrue, 638 F.3d 1324, 1327
(10th Cir. 2011). 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. §
416.920. The ALJ first determined Plaintiff had not engaged
in substantial gainful activity since June 9, 2014, the
application date. AR 23.
two, the ALJ determined Plaintiff suffered from the severe
impairments of degenerative disc disease, degenerative joint
disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and obesity. AR
23-25. 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 25-27.
next determined Plaintiff's residual functional capacity
[Plaintiff] has the residual functional capacity to perform a
less than full range of “sedentary work” as
defined in 20 CFR 416.967(a) except she can never climb
ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; occasional climbing of ramps or
stairs, stooping, balancing, crouching, crawling, or
kneeling; and must have a sit/stand option hourly.
AR 27-33. Relying on the testimony of a vocational expert
(VE), the ALJ determined Plaintiff is capable of performing
past relevant work as a telemarketer and school secretary. AR
34. In the alternative, and again relying on the testimony of
a VE, the ALJ found there were other jobs that existed in
significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff
could perform-charge account clerk, document scanner, and
touch-up screener. AR 34-35. The ALJ concluded, therefore,
that Plaintiff was not disabled for purposes of the Social
Security Act. AR 35.
Issues Presented for Judicial Review
contends the ALJ erred in weighing the opinion of a treating
physician and in considering Plaintiff's subjective
complaints. The Court finds the ALJ did not err with regard
to either assertion.
Standard of Review
review of the Commissioner's final decision is limited to
determining whether the factual findings are supported by
substantial evidence in the record as a whole and whether the
correct legal standards were applied. See Poppa v.
Astrue, 569 F.3d 1167, 1169 (10th Cir. 2009).
“Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Doyal v. Barnhart, 331 F.3d 758,
760 (10th Cir. 2003) (quotation omitted). A decision is not
based on substantial evidence if it is overwhelmed by other
evidence in the record or if there is a mere scintilla of
evidence supporting it. Branum v. Barnhart, 385 F.3d
1268, 1270 (10th Cir. 2004). The court “meticulously
examine[s] the record as a whole, including anything that may
undercut or detract from the ALJ's findings in order to
determine if the substantiality test has been met.”
Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d 1048, 1052 (10th Cir. 2009)
(citations omitted). While the court considers whether the
ALJ followed the ...