United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
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
applications for benefits 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 AND
REMANDS the Commissioner's decision.
and on reconsideration, the Social Security Administration
denied Plaintiff's applications for benefits. Following
an administrative hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
issued an unfavorable decision. (TR. 12-21). The Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (TR. 1-3).
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. §§
404.1520 & 416.920. At step one, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since March 10, 2008, her alleged onset date. (TR. 14). At
step two, the ALJ determined that Ms. Smith had the following
severe impairments: obesity; diabetes mellitus; hypertension;
a back disorder; hyperlipidemia; and osteoarthritis of the
hands. (TR. 14). 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. 15).
four, the ALJ concluded that Ms. Smith retained the residual
functional capacity (RFC) to:
[L]ift and carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds
frequently. The claimant can sit for about 6 hours during an
eight-hour workday and can stand/walk for about 6 hours
during an eight-hour workday. The claimant can occasionally
climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. The claimant
can frequently handle and finger as of February 26, 2016 (the
claimant had no limitations on handling and fingering prior
to said date). 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b).
(TR. 16). At the administrative hearing, the ALJ questioned
Ms. Smith and a vocational expert (VE) to assess
Plaintiff's past relevant work. (TR. 39-43). In doing so,
the VE testified that an individual with Ms. Smith's RFC
was capable of performing her past work as a cashier and a
dispatcher. (TR. 43-44). Thus, at step four, the ALJ
concluded that Ms. Smith was not disabled based on her
ability to perform her past jobs as a cashier and a
dispatcher, as those jobs are actually and generally
performed. (TR. 20).
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).