United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
MARK A. D., Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
H. MCCARTHY United States Magistrate Judge.
MARK A. D., 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, 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 42 years old on the alleged date of onset of disability
and 46 years old on the date of the denial decision. He has
an 11th grade education and attended special education
classes. His past work experience includes a hog sawer. [R.
30, 126]. Plaintiff claims to have been unable to work since
June 10, 2013 due to mental issues, uncontrollable bowel
movements, asthma, learning disability, paranoid
schizophrenia, and chronic bronchitis. [R. 335].
determined that Plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: congenital bowel disorder status-post surgery,
asthma, chronic bronchitis, seizure disorder, kidney function
disorder, learning disability, borderline intellectual
functioning, paranoid schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and
substance abuse. The ALJ found moderate obesity and Hepatitis
C non-severe. [R. 18]. The ALJ determined that Plaintiff has
the residual functional capacity to perform light work except
he cannot climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, be exposed to
unprotected heights, open flames, dangerous machinery, or
other hazardous conditions. Plaintiff cannot be exposed to
elevated levels of gases, fumes, dusts, odors, poor
ventilation, or other respiratory irritants, or be exposed to
elevated levels of heat (defined as a level in excess of that
ordinarily found in office buildings or light manufacturing
facilities). Restroom facilities must be readily available
with adequate space for the number of employees at the
workplace. Due to mental impairments, Plaintiff would be
limited to unskilled work consisting of simple and routine
tasks with routine supervision that require only that he be
able to understand, remember, and carry out simple
instructions given orally or by demonstration. Plaintiff can
relate to supervisors and coworkers on a superficial work
related basis and could adapt to a work situation, but cannot
have contact with the general public (defined as interaction
with the general public not being part of the job duties, and
any contact would in most cases be incidental and
superficial). [R. 24]. The ALJ determined that Plaintiff was
unable to perform any past relevant work. At step five, the
ALJ found that there are a significant number of jobs in the
national economy that Plaintiff could perform with these
limitations. [R. 31]. 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 properly consider his
uncontroverted objective medical evidence. [Dkt. 16, p. 4].
argues that the ALJ's finding that the record did not
support his allegation that he had frequent, uncontrolled
bowel movements is in error. Plaintiff contends that the ALJ
ignored the verified objective medical evidence from a rectal
exam performed on June 2, 2015. [Dkt. 16, p. 5; R. 757-61].
In support of his argument, Plaintiff points to the follow-up
examination for cellulitis of his right axilla. Plaintiff was
examined by Gabriel Presley, M.D., at St. John Clinic who
noted, “Plaintiff would also like a letter regarding
his disability. Please see the Letter (sic) note created on
this date for more info.” [R. 758]. Dr. Presley further
“This is Gabriel Presley, MD writing a letter for Mr.
Mark Down. Mark Down reports to me a (sic) having been born
without a rectum. Patient reported to me having a surgery as
a baby that utilized part of his GI track as a replacement
for his rectum. I did a ‘rectal' exam on the
patient and noted that the patient did not have any rectal
tone but instead had an opening approximately 1 cm In (sic)
diameter with fecal matter around the anus. In my opinion
these physical findings were consistent were (sic) Mr.
Down's given history.”
[R. 759]. Plaintiff also claims he consistently complained
about uncontrollable bowel movements. Plaintiff informed the
Department of Corrections he needed to be close to a
restroom, [R. 485], advised Family and Children's
Services' clinicians that he had difficulty controlling
his bowels, [R. 780-81, 831], and informed Good Samaritan
Health Services that he could not ...