Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Barrett v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

July 13, 2018

NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.



         Plaintiff Elaine Ann Barrett 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 (“SSA”) denying Plaintiff's applications for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) under the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge. Upon review of the administrative record (Doc. No. 12, hereinafter “R. ”), [1] and the arguments and authorities submitted by the parties, the Court reverses the Commissioner's decision and remands the case for further proceedings.


         Plaintiff protectively filed her DIB application on January 9, 2014, alleging a disability onset date of February 13, 2013. R. 15, 137-42. Following a denial of her application initially and on reconsideration, a hearing was held before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on August 6, 2015. R. 28-64, 83-86, 88-90. In addition to Plaintiff, a vocational expert (“VE”) testified at the hearing. R. 59-63. The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on November 25, 2015. R. 12-24.

         As relevant here, the Commissioner uses a five-step sequential evaluation process to determine entitlement to disability benefits. See Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d 1048, 1052 (10th Cir. 2009); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520. At step one, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since her alleged onset date of February 13, 2013. R. 17. At step two, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had the severe medically determinable impairments of obesity, asthma, osteoarthritis, status post right ankle fusion, hypertension, and status post remote motor vehicle accident resulting in multiple injuries requiring surgical intervention. R. 17-18. At step three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's condition did not meet or equal any of the presumptively disabling impairments listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. R. 18.

         The ALJ next assessed Plaintiff's residual functional capacity (“RFC”) based on all of her medically determinable impairments. R. 18-22. The ALJ found that Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity to

lift and carry 10 pounds occasionally and less than 10 pounds frequently. [Plaintiff] can sit for about six hours during an eight-hour workday and stand and walk for at least two hours during an eight-hour workday. [Plaintiff] can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. [Plaintiff] cannot climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. [Plaintiff] should avoid concentrated exposure to dusts, fumes, gases, odors, and poor ventilation. [Plaintiff] cannot use right foot controls.

R. 18. At step four, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff was incapable of performing her past relevant work as a pharmacy technician. R. 22.

         At step five, the ALJ considered whether there are jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff-in view of her age, education, work experience, and RFC-could perform. R. 22-23. Relying upon the VE's testimony, the ALJ found that Plaintiff could perform sedentary, unskilled occupations such as: order clerk, food and beverage; call-out operator; and final assembler of optical goods, and that such occupations offer jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy. R. 22-23. Therefore, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had not been disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act during the relevant period. R. 23-24.

         Plaintiff's request for review by the SSA Appeals Council was denied on November 28, 2016, and the unfavorable determination of the ALJ stands as the Commissioner's final decision. See R. 1-5; 20 C.F.R. § 404.981.


         Judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision is limited to determining whether factual findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole and whether correct legal standards were applied. 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) (internal quotation marks 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) (internal quotation marks omitted). The court “meticulously examine[s] the record as a whole, ” including any evidence “that may undercut or detract from the ALJ's findings, ” “to determine if the substantiality test has been met.” Wall, 561 F.3d at 1052 (internal quotation marks omitted). While a reviewing court considers whether the Commissioner followed applicable rules of law in weighing particular types of evidence in disability cases, the court does not reweigh the evidence or substitute its own judgment for that of the Commissioner. Bowman v. Astrue, 511 F.3d 1270, 1272 (10th Cir. 2008).


         In this action, Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred by: (1) failing to properly weigh and evaluate an opinion from Plaintiff's treating orthopedist, (2) not considering all of Plaintiff's limitations in the hypothetical posed to the VE, and (3) failing to assess the impact of ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.