United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
CHRISTOPHER W. SHIPMAN, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KIMBERLY E. WEST, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Christopher W. Shipman (the “Claimant”) requests
judicial review of the decision of the Commissioner of the
Social Security Administration (the
“Commissioner”) denying Claimant's
application for disability benefits under the Social Security
Act. Claimant appeals the decision of the Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”) and asserts that the Commissioner
erred because the ALJ incorrectly determined that Claimant
was not disabled. For the reasons discussed below, it is the
recommendation of the undersigned that the Commissioner's
decision be AFFIRMED.
Security Law and Standard of Review
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 his physical or mental impairment or
impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable
to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age,
education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of
substantial gainful work which exists in the national
economy. . .” 42 U.S.C. §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.
review of the Commissioner's determination is limited in
scope by 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). This Court's review is
limited to two inquiries: first, whether the decision was
supported by substantial evidence; and, second, whether the
correct legal standards were applied. Hawkins v.
Chater, 113 F.3d 1162, 1164 (10th Cir. 1997)(citation
omitted). The term “substantial evidence” has
been interpreted by the United States Supreme Court to
require “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)). The court may not re-weigh the evidence nor
substitute its discretion for that of the agency. Casias
v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs., 933 F.2d 799,
800 (10th Cir. 1991). Nevertheless, the court must review the
record as a whole, and the “substantiality of the
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.
was 54 years old at the time of the ALJ's latest
decision. Claimant completed his high school education.
Claimant has worked in the past as a dishwasher at a casino,
housekeeper at a bingo hall, factory lineman, and retail
maintenance clean up crew. Claimant alleges an inability to
work beginning August 3, 2006 due to limitations resulting
from emotional and psychological conditions.
August 3, 2006, Claimant protectively filed for supplemental
security income pursuant to Title XVI (42 U.S.C. §1381,
et seq.) of the Social Security Act. Claimant's
application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On
September 5, 2008, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Lantz McClain conducted an administrative
hearing in Poteau, Oklahoma. On November 5, 2008, the ALJ
issued an unfavorable decision. After appeal, this Court
reversed the decision and remanded the case on March 31,
second administrative hearing was conducted by ALJ Michael
Kirkpatrick on January 4, 2011. The ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision on February 10, 2011. The decision was
again reversed by this Court on March 13, 2013.
administrative hearing was conducted on September 12, 2014 by
ALJ James Bentley. He entered an unfavorable decision on
October 31, 2014. Defendant moved to reverse and remand the
decision which was granted by this Court on August 27, 2015.
fourth administrative hearing was conducted by ALJ Lantz
McClain on December 12, 2016 by video with Claimant appearing
in Poteau, Oklahoma and the ALJ presiding from Tulsa,
Oklahoma. A fourth unfavorable decision was entered on April
18, 2017. Claimant directly appealed the decision to this
Court. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.984, 416.1484.
of the Administrative Law Judge
made his decision at step five of the sequential evaluation.
He determined that while Claimant suffered from severe
impairments, he retained the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform a full range of ...