United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
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
application for disability insurance 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).
parties have briefed their positions, and the matter is now
at issue. Based on the Court's review of the record and
the issue presented, the Court REVERSES AND
REMANDS the Commissioner's decision.
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. 15-29). Subsequent to
the decision, the Appeals Council declined Plaintiff's
request for review. (TR. 1-3). Thus, the decision of the ALJ
became the final decision of the Commissioner. See
Krauser v. Astrue, 638 F.3d 1324, 1327 (10th Cir. 2011).
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 during the
alleged period of disability-April 1, 2011 through December
31, 2014. (TR. 17). At step two, the ALJ determined that Mr.
Bowles had the following severe impairments: degenerative
disc disease; degenerative joint disease; prediabetes; and
hypertension. (TR. 17). 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. 18). At step
four, the ALJ concluded that Mr. Bowles retained the residual
functional capacity (RFC) to:
[P]erform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except
occasionally climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds; frequently
climb ramps or stairs, stoop, balance, crouch, crawl, or
kneel; frequently reaching, handling and fingering;
occasional overhead reaching with the right upper extremity.
(TR. 19). Based on this RFC, the ALJ concluded, at step four,
that Plaintiff was not disabled based on his ability to
perform his past relevant work. (TR. 29).
appeal, Plaintiff alleges error at step four.
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
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Id. (quotation omitted).
the court considers whether the ALJ followed the applicable
rules of law in weighing particular types of evidence in
disability cases, the court will “neither reweigh the
evidence nor substitute [its] judgment for that of the
agency.” Vigil v. Colvin, 805 F.3d 1199, 1201
(10th Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks omitted).
ERROR AT STEP FOUR
Bowles alleges that the ALJ erred at step four, in finding
that Plaintiff could return to his past ...