United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
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
application 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 AFFIRMS the
and on reconsideration, the Social Security Administration
denied Plaintiff's application for benefits. Following
two administrative hearings, an Administrative Law Judge
(ALJ) issued an unfavorable decision. (TR. 32-47). The
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review.
(TR. 4-6). Thus, the decision of the ALJ became the final
decision of the Commissioner.
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. § 416.920.
At step one, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 10,
2014, the application date. (TR. 34). At step two, the ALJ
determined that Mr. Walls had the following severe
impairments: asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(COPD); and hypertension. (TR. 34). 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. 37).
four, the ALJ concluded that Mr. Walls retained the residual
functional capacity (RFC) to: [P]erform “medium
work” as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(c), except the
claimant must avoid even moderate exposure to dust, fumes,
gases, odors, and poor ventilation. (TR. 38) (footnote
omitted). With this RFC, the ALJ concluded that Mr. Walls was
unable to perform any past relevant work. (TR. 46). As a
result, the ALJ proceeded to step five and presented several
limitations to a vocational expert (VE) to determine whether
there were other jobs in the national economy that Plaintiff
could perform. (TR. 75-76). Given the limitations, the VE
identified three jobs from the Dictionary of Occupational
Titles. (TR. 76). The ALJ adopted the testimony of the VE and
concluded that Mr. Walls was not disabled based on his
ability to perform the identified jobs. (TR. 47).
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).
appeal, Mr. Walls alleges errors in: (1) the RFC and (2) the
ALJ's evaluation of Plaintiff's testimony.
NO ERROR IN THE RFC DETERMINATION
stated, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had the RFC to
“[P]erform ‘medium work' as defined in 20 CFR
416.967(c), except the claimant must avoid even moderate
exposure to dust, fumes, gases, odors, and poor
ventilation.” (TR. 38) (footnote omitted). Mr. Walls
argues: (1) the RFC failed to accommodate his shortness of
breath as opined by two examining physicians; (2) the RFC
failed to accommodate his depression as diagnosed by an
examining physician; and (3) the ALJ failed to recontact an
examining psychologist for clarification of an opinion. (ECF
No. 19:8-11). As a result of these cumulative errors, Mr.
Walls contends that the RFC lacks substantial evidence. The