United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
TINA M. HUDSON, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BERNARD M. JONES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Tina M. Hudson, seeks judicial review of the Social Security
Administration's (SSA) denial of her applications for
disability insurance benefits (DIB) and supplemental security
income (SSI). 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. 12], and
both parties have briefed their positions. For the reasons
set forth below, the Court affirms the Commissioner's
August 23, 2016, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an
unfavorable decision finding Plaintiff is not disabled and,
therefore, not entitled to DIB or SSI. AR 20-36. The Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review.
Id. at 1-5. Accordingly, the ALJ's decision
constitutes the Commissioner's final decision. See
Krauser v. Astrue, 638 F.3d 1324, 1327 (10th Cir. 2011).
Plaintiff timely commenced this action for judicial review.
The ALJ's Decision
followed the five-step sequential evaluation process required
by agency regulations. See Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d
1048, 1051 (10th Cir. 2009) (explaining process); see
also 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920. The ALJ
first determined Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since July 31, 2012, her amended alleged
onset date. AR 23.
two, the ALJ determined Plaintiff suffers from the following
severe impairments: “mild degenerative disc disease of
the neck and back; left foot disorder, status post surgical
repair; major depressive disorder, moderate; generalized
anxiety disorder; [and] agoraphobia without panic
attacks.” Id. Then, 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, App. 1. Id. at 23-25.
in relevant part on a medical expert's (ME) testimony,
the ALJ next determined Plaintiff's residual functional
capacity (RFC), concluding that she:
[can] perform light work . . . except she can lift, carry,
push and pull 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds
occasionally. She can sit for 7 of 8 hours and stand and/or
walk for 7 of 8 hours in an 8-hour workday. She can
frequently climb stairs, ramps, ladders, ropes, and
scaffolds, as well as frequently balance, crawl, and stoop.
She can continuously kneel and crouch. She can have frequent
exposure to unprotected heights and moving machinery.
Further, she can perform simple, repetitive tasks with
routine supervision, but should not perform customer service
work. She can have occasional public contact and is able to
adapt to work situations.
Id. at 25-26.
four, the ALJ determined Plaintiff cannot perform her past
relevant work, id. at 34, and at step five, found
Plaintiff can perform other work existing in significant
numbers in the national economy. Id. at 35.
Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff is not disabled
for purposes of the Social Security Act. Id. at
Claims Presented for Judicial Review
alleges that: (1) the ALJ erred in giving the ME's
opinion greater weight than the consultative examiner's
(CE) opinion without providing specific and legitimate
reasons, and, as a result, (2) Plaintiff's RFC is not
supported by substantial evidence. See Pl.'s Br.