United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
T. 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 child's 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.
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 Commissioner's decision is
REVERSED AND REMANDED for further
and on reconsideration, the Social Security Administration
denied Plaintiff's application for benefits. Following an
administrative hearing, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
Douglas S. Stults issued an unfavorable decision on May 10,
2016. (TR. 20-35). The Appeals Council (AC) denied
Plaintiff's request for review on May 30, 2017. (TR.
1-3). Thus, the decision of the ALJ became the final decision
of the Commissioner.
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 since July 12,
2013, the date Plaintiff attained the age of 18. (TR. 23). At
step two, the ALJ determined that Ms. Johnson had the
following severe impairments: major depressive disorder;
borderline intellectual functioning; learning disorder;
oppositional defiant disorder; reactive attachment disorder;
and borderline personality disorder. (TR. 23). 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. 24-26). At step four, the ALJ concluded that Ms.
Johnson retained the residual functional capacity (RFC) to:
[P]erform a full range of work at all exertional levels, but
with the following non-exertional functional limitations:
understand, remember, and carry out simple, repetitive,
rote-type instructions: deal with only occasional changes in
work processes and environment; perform a job that requires
very little, if any, independent judgment; have no contact
with the general public; have only incidental, superficial
work-related type contact with coworkers and supervisors,
i.e., brief, succinct, cursory, concise communication
relevant to the task being performed; and cannot tolerate
"teamwork" type jobs, in that the claimant cannot
work in conjunction with a coworker on any particular job
task or duty.
26). The ALJ found that Plaintiff did not have any past
relevant work. (TR. 33). At step five, 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 given her RFC. (TR. 33-35, 98-104).
Given these limitations, the VE identified seven unskilled
jobs Plaintiff could perform. (TR. 33-35). The ALJ adopted
the testimony of the VE, and found that Plaintiff was not
disabled from her alleged onset date of July 13, 1995 through
the date of the decision. (TR. 34-35).
appeal, Plaintiff alleges that the ALJ (1) did not meet his
burden at step five of the sequential evaluation by finding
that Plaintiff could perform jobs with work-related mental
requirements that exceeded Plaintiffs RFC, and (2) further
erred at step five by assessing Plaintiff as being capable of
performing work that was “too skilled” for
Plaintiff to perform. (ECF No. 21:7-12).
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. ...