Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
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.

Blankenship v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration

United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma

February 28, 2019

LINDSEY G. BLANKENSHIP, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          STEVEN P. SHREDER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         The claimant Lindsey G. Blankenship requests judicial review of a denial of benefits by the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). She appeals the Commissioner's decision and asserts that the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in determining that she was not disabled. As discussed below, the undersigned Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that the Commissioner's decision be REVERSED and the case REMANDED to the ALJ for further proceedings.

         Social Security Law and Standard of Review

         Disability under the Social Security Act is defined as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment[.]” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). A claimant is disabled under the Social Security Act “only if h[er] physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that [s]he is not only unable to do h[er] previous work but cannot, considering h[er] age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy[.]” Id. § 423 (d)(2)(A). Social security regulations implement a five-step sequential process to evaluate a disability claim. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920.[1]

         Section 405(g) limits the scope of judicial review of the Commissioner's decision to two inquiries: whether the decision was supported by substantial evidence and whether correct legal standards were applied. See Hawkins v. Chater, 113 F.3d 1162, 1164 (10th Cir. 1997). Substantial evidence is “‘more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.'” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971), quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938). See also Clifton v. Chater, 79 F.3d 1007, 1009 (10th Cir. 1996). The Court may not reweigh the evidence or substitute its discretion for the Commissioner's. See Casias v. Sec'y of Health & Human Svcs., 933 F.2d 799, 800 (10th Cir. 1991). But the Court must review the record as a whole, and “[t]he substantiality of evidence must take into account whatever in the record fairly detracts from its weight.” Universal Camera Corp. v. NLRB, 340 U.S. 474, 488 (1951); see also Casias, 933 F.2d at 800-01.

         Claimant's Background

         The claimant was thirty-six years old at the time of the administrative hearing (Tr. 37). She completed four or more years of college, and has worked as a department store clerk, security guard, and security system monitor (Tr. 22, 264). The claimant alleges that she has been unable to work since January 11, 2016, due to right hip injury, ankle instability, hearing loss, and depression (Tr. 263).

         Procedural History

         On February 26, 2016, the claimant applied for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434. Her application was denied. ALJ B.D. Crutchfield conducted an administrative hearing and determined that the claimant was not disabled in a written opinion dated April 11, 2017 (Tr. 15-23). The Appeals Council denied review, so the ALJ's opinion is the Commissioner's final decision for purposes of this appeal. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.981.

         Decision of the Administrative Law Judge

         The ALJ made her decision at step four of the sequential evaluation. She found that the claimant had the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform the full range of light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(b). The ALJ thus concluded that the claimant could return to her past work as a department store clerk, security guard, and security system monitor (Tr. 22).

         Review

         The claimant alleges that the ALJ erred by: (i) failing to properly evaluate the medical opinions in the record, specifically with regard to the claimant's VA disability rating and a treating physician opinion, and (ii) failing to consider all the claimant's impairments throughout the sequential evaluation. The undersigned Magistrate Judge agrees that the ALJ failed to properly evaluate the evidence in the record, and the Commissioner's decision should therefore be reversed.

         The ALJ determined that the claimant had the severe impairment of cam type femoral acetabular type injury with labral tear to the right hip, as well as the nonsevere impairments of affective disorder, anxiety disorder, personality disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression (Tr. 17-18). Relevant medical records reflect that on March 15, 2016, Dr. Judy Marks-Snelling completed a Hip and Thigh Conditions Disability Benefits Questionnaire (“DBQ”) indicating that the claimant experienced flare-ups of hip pain when carrying weight of over fifteen to twenty pounds, and that she could not fully flex or pivot on the right leg at the hip ...


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.