United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
EDWARD D. BONNEYE, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BERNARD M. JONES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Edward D. Bonneye, seeks judicial review of the Social
Security Administration's (SSA) denial of his application
for supplemental security income (SSI). The parties have
consented to the exercise of jurisdiction over this matter by
a United States Magistrate Judge. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c). The Commissioner has filed the Administrative
Record (AR), [Doc. No. 13], and both parties have briefed
their positions. For the reasons stated below, the Court
reverses the Commissioner's decision and remands the
matter for further proceedings.
March 16, 2018, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an
unfavorable decision finding Plaintiff is not disabled and,
therefore, not entitled to SSI. AR 17-29. The Appeals Council
denied Plaintiff's request for review. Id. at
1-8. Accordingly, the ALJ's decision constitutes the
Commissioner's final decision. See Krauser v.
Astrue, 638 F.3d 1324, 1327 (10th Cir. 2011). Plaintiff
timely commenced this action for judicial review.
The ALJ's Decision
followed the five-step sequential evaluation process required
by agency regulations. See Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d
1048, 1051 (10th Cir. 2009) (explaining process); see
also 20 C.F.R. § 416.920. Following this process,
the ALJ first determined that Plaintiff has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since April 26, 2016, his
application date. AR 19.
two, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff suffers from severe
obesity, diabetes with peripheral neuropathy, and left knee
degenerative change, but, at step three, his impairments do
not meet or medically equal any of the impairments listed at
20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, App. 1. Id. at 19-20.
next determined Plaintiff's residual functional capacity
(RFC), concluding that he can perform sedentary work with
exertional limitations. Id. at 22. Then, at steps
four and five respectively, the ALJ determined Plaintiff
cannot perform his past relevant work but can perform work
existing in significant numbers in the national economy.
Id. at 27-29. Therefore, the ALJ concluded that
Plaintiff is not disabled for purposes of the Social Security
Act. Id. at 29.
Claim Presented for Judicial Review
presented as two separate claims, Plaintiff's overriding
argument is that the ALJ erred in failing to incorporate any
reaching limitations into the RFC. See Pl.'s Br.
at 1-11. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges the ALJ ignored the
reaching limitations supported by the consultative
examiner's finding that Plaintiff has “decreased
right shoulder abduction of 90 degrees when 150 degrees is
considered within normal limits” and “right
shoulder forward elevation was decreased to 90 degrees
instead of 150 degrees.” Id. at 7.
mindful of the Commissioner's arguments, which the Court
finds are substantially justified, the Court ultimately
agrees with Plaintiff.
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); see
also Bowman v. Astrue, 511 F.3d 1270, 1272 (10th Cir.
2008) (holding that the court only reviews an ALJ's
decision “to determine whether the factual findings are
supported by substantial evidence in the record and whether
the correct legal standards were applied” and in that
review, “we neither reweigh the evidence nor substitute
our judgment for that of the agency” (citations and
internal quotation marks omitted)).