United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
H. MCCARTHY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
SONYA F., seeks judicial review of a decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying
Social Security disability benefits. In accordance with 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c)(1) & (3), the parties have consented to
proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge.
role of the court in reviewing the decision of the
Commissioner under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) is limited to a
determination of whether the decision is supported by
substantial evidence and whether the decision contains a
sufficient basis to determine that the Commissioner has
applied the correct legal standards. See Briggs ex rel.
Briggs v. Massanari, 248 F.3d 1235, 1237 (10th Cir.
2001); Winfrey v. Chater, 92 F.3d 1017 (10th Cir.
1996); Castellano v. Secretary of Health & Human
Servs., 26 F.3d 1027, 1028 (10th Cir. 1994). Substantial
evidence is more than a scintilla, less than a preponderance,
and is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S.Ct. 1420, 1427, 28
L.Ed.2d 842 (1971) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v.
NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 22');">229 (1938)). The court may neither
reweigh the evidence nor substitute its judgment for that of
the Commissioner. Casias v. Secretary of Health &
Human Servs., 993 F.2d 799, 800 (10th Cir. 1991). Even
if the court would have reached a different conclusion, if
supported by substantial evidence, the Commissioner's
decision stands. Hamilton v. Secretary of Health &
Human Servs., 961 F.2d 1495 (10th Cir. 1992).
was 52 years old on the alleged date of onset of disability
and 54 years old on the date of the denial decision. She
completed two years of college and certification as a
nurse's aid. Her past relevant work includes a home
attendant and customer service. [R. 35]. Plaintiff claims to
have been unable to work since November 5, 2014 due to injury to
back, legs, and knees, as well as mental impairments. [R. 47,
determined that Plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: degenerative disc disease, anxiety, affective
disorder, and learning disorder. [R. 23]. The ALJ determined
that the Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity to
perform light work, specifically, Plaintiff can lift and/or
carry up to 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently;
she can stand, sit, and walk 6 hours in an 8-hour workday
with normal breaks. She can push and pull 20 pounds
occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. Plaintiff can
occasionally climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. She can
perform simple tasks with routine supervision, relate to
supervisors and peers on a superficial work basis, and adapt
to a work situation. Plaintiff cannot relate to the general
public. [R. 25]. The ALJ determined that Plaintiff is unable
to perform her past relevant work, however, based on the
testimony of the vocational expert, there are a significant
number of jobs in the national economy that Plaintiff could
perform. [R. 38-39]. Accordingly, the ALJ found Plaintiff was
not disabled. The case was thus decided at step five of the
five-step evaluative sequence for determining whether a
claimant is disabled. See Williams v. Bowen, 844
F.2d 748, 750-52 (10th Cir. 1988) (discussing five steps in
asserts the ALJ failed to consider the overlay of her medical
and psychiatric conditions (back and neck pain and low
functioning mental ability and depression). [Dkt. 22');">22, p. 5].
Plaintiff begins her discussion of her alleged errors on
appeal by noting consultative examiner, William Cooper,
Ph.D., diagnosed her with a low average intellectual
potential. Plaintiff then states that, “Each disability
and the combination of disabilities each with the other had a
compounding effect on Claimant's over all (sic)
condition. The Court should have evaluated these disabilities
in conjunction one with the other. Each disability and the
disabilities in combination had an overall impact on the
condition of the whole man. The core issues is as to whether
the claimant would return to her jobs.” [Dkt. 22');">22, p.
9]. Plaintiff then cites two Tenth Circuit cases, Young
v. Barnhart, 146 Fed.App'x 952, 955 (10th Cir.
2005)(unpublished) and Eggleston v. Bowen, 851 F.2d
1244, 1247 (10th Cir. 2008), and then reiterates her position
that she, “[I]s asserting that the Court did not
consider the combined effect of all impairments.” [Dkt.
22');">22, p. 9]. That is the extent of Plaintiff's brief.
appears to be asserting error in the ALJ's consideration
of the opinion of Dr. Cooper. The court, however, does not
agree. The ALJ thoroughly and accurately discussed the mental
status examination performed by Dr. Cooper on November 5,
2014, noting that Plaintiff reported she felt anxious most of
the time, worried about daily problems, and was unable to
sleep at night due to thoughts. Plaintiff stated she had
panic attacks all of her life which occurred several times
each week. Dr. Cooper found Plaintiff was alert and oriented
to person, place, and roughly time. On the Montreal Cognitive
Assessment, Plaintiff was unable to successfully perform the
trail-making test and appeared to have no idea how to proceed
with it. When asked to draw a picture of a clock,
Plaintiff's drawing was done quickly and carelessly.
Memory and attention was generally poor and formal judgment
was limited. [R. 27]. Dr. Cooper estimated Plaintiff might
have a low average intellectual potential though she does not
appear to function at that level. The assessment suggests she
was likely to have low average intellectual potential, though
she appeared to be functioning below that level currently,
likely due to the adverse effects of anxiety. Formal
education suggests she was an unenthusiastic student or had a
learning disability or both. There were no obvious signs of
psychosis. Plaintiff's insight was limited and her
prognosis was guarded. Dr. Cooper found Plaintiff was capable
of understanding simple questions and following simple
directions. Plaintiff would have limited ability to relate to
others. [R. 28, 323-238]. As specifically noted by the ALJ,
all of Dr. Cooper's limitations were incorporated into
the ALJ's RFC. [R. 25, 27-28].
clear that the ALJ fully considered the opinion of Dr.
Cooper. Accordingly, the court finds that the ALJ's
evaluation of Dr. Cooper's medical opinion ...