United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BERNARD M. JONES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Samuel Spoon, seeks judicial review of the Social Security
Administration's denial of disability insurance benefits
(DIB) and supplemental security income (SSI). This matter has
been referred by United States District Judge Timothy D.
DeGiusti for proposed findings and recommendations.
See 28 U.S.C. §§ 636(b)(1)(B), 636(b)(3).
The Commissioner has filed the Administrative Record (AR)
[Doc. No. 13], and both parties have briefed their respective
positions. For the reasons set forth below, it is
recommended that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed.
21, 2015, Plaintiff protectively filed applications for DIB
and SSI. See AR 15. The Social Security
Administration denied the applications initially and on
reconsideration. AR 77-78, 121-122. Following a hearing, an
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an unfavorable decision
dated June 16, 2017. AR 16-36. The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review. AR 1-6. Thus, the
decision of the ALJ became the final decision of the
Commissioner. Krauser v. Astrue, 638 F.3d 1324, 1327
(10th Cir. 2011). Plaintiff seeks judicial review of this
final agency decision.
The ALJ's Decision
followed the sequential evaluation process required by agency
regulations. See Fischer-Ross v. Barnhart, 431 F.3d
729, 731 (10th Cir. 2005) (explaining five-step sequential
evaluation process); see also 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520; 416.920. The ALJ first determined Plaintiff had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 15, 2014,
the alleged onset date. AR 17.
two, the ALJ determined Plaintiff suffers from the following
severe impairments: diabetes; diabetic retinopathy;
arthropathies; blindness in the right eye with secondary
glaucoma; and presbyopia in the left eye AR
17-18. 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, Appendix 1. AR 18-19.
next determined Plaintiff's residual functional capacity
[Plaintiff] had the residual functional capacity to perform
medium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c)
except he is limited to no visual fields on the right.
Additionally, he is limited to no more than frequent visual
fields and near and far acuity on the left. [Plaintiff] must
avoid all hazards.
AR 20-24. The ALJ then found Plaintiff could not perform any
past relevant work. AR 24-25. Relying on the testimony of a
vocational expert (VE), the ALJ found there were other jobs
that existed in significant numbers in the national economy
that Plaintiff could perform-dining room attendant, linen
room attendant, and cart attendant. AR 25-26. The ALJ
concluded, therefore, that Plaintiff was not disabled for
purposes of the Social Security Act. AR 26.
Standard of Review
review of the Commissioner's final decision is limited to
determining whether the factual findings are supported by
substantial evidence in the record as a whole and whether the
correct legal standards were applied. See 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) (quotation 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). The court “meticulously
examine[s] the record as a whole, including anything that may
undercut or detract from the ALJ's findings in order to
determine if the substantiality test has been met.”
Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d 1048, 1052 (10th Cir. 2009)
(citations omitted). While the court considers whether the
ALJ followed the 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) (quotations and citations
Claim Presented for Judicial Review
asserts the ALJ erred in analyzing limitations related to the
vision in his left eye, in the analysis of his symptoms, and
in the Step Five analysis. The Court finds Plaintiff's
allegations are without merit.
The RFC Related to Plaintiff's Left Eye Vision is