United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
WENDY A. SARIAN, Plaintiff,
NANCY BERRYHILL, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
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 supplemental security income 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 issues presented, the Court REVERSES the
Commissioner's decision and REMANDS for
further administrative findings.
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. 82-95). The Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (TR. 1-4).
Thus, the decision of the ALJ became the final decision of
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. § 416.920.
At step one, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 31, 2014,
her application date. (TR. 84). At step two, the ALJ
determined Ms. Sarian had the following severe impairments:
history of rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia; asthma;
obesity; bipolar disorder with borderline traits; and
post-traumatic stress disorder. (TR. 84). 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. 85).
four, the ALJ concluded that Ms. Sarian retained the residual
functional capacity (RFC) to:
[L]ift and/or carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds
frequently, stand and/or walk at least 6 hours in an 8-hour
workday, sit for at least 6 hours in an 8-hour workday with
normal breaks, avoid concentrated exposure to such things as
dust or fumes, and limited to simple, repetitive tasks and
relate to supervisors and coworkers only superficially and
not work with the public.
(TR. 86). With this RFC, the ALJ concluded that Ms. Sarian
could not perform her past relevant work. (TR. 94). Thus, at
the hearing, the ALJ presented the limitations set forth in
the RFC to a vocational expert (VE) to determine whether
there were other jobs in the national economy that Plaintiff
could perform. (TR. 134-135). Given the limitations, the VE
identified two jobs from the Dictionary of Occupational
Titles. (TR. 136). The ALJ adopted the testimony of the VE
and concluded at step five that Ms. Sarian was not disabled
based on her ability to perform the identified jobs. (TR.
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).