United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
M. PURCELL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
seeks judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of
the final decision of Defendant Commissioner denying her
application for child's insurance benefits. Defendant has
answered the Complaint and filed the administrative record
(hereinafter AR__), and the parties have briefed the issues.
The matter has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate
Judge for initial proceedings consistent with 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(B). For the following reasons, it is
recommended that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed.
Administrative History and Final Agency Decision
filed her application for child's insurance benefits on
October 23, 2015, alleging disability beginning February 1,
2014. Her application was denied initially and on
reconsideration. Plaintiff appeared with counsel and
testified at an administrative hearing conducted on May 12,
2017, before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). AR 32-80. A
vocational expert (VE) also testified at the hearing,
id. at 74-78, as did one of Plaintiff's
counselors. Id. at 6 5 -7 3 . The ALJ issued a
decision in which she found Plaintiff was not disabled within
the meaning of the Social Security Act. Id. at
the agency's well-established sequential evaluation
procedure, the ALJ found at the first step that Plaintiff had
not engaged in substantial gainful activity since her alleged
onset date. Id. at 15-16. At the second step, the
ALJ found Plaintiff had two severe impairments: affective
disorder and hyperactivity attention deficit disorder
Id. at 16-18. At the third step, the ALJ found
Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that met or medically equaled the requirements of
a listed impairment. Id. at 18-21.
four, the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following residual
functional capacity (RFC):
[T]he claimant has the residual functional capacity to
perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but
with the following nonexertional limitations: work must be
limited to simple, routine, and repetitive tasks; occasional
interaction with co-workers and supervisors, but only
superficial[, ] and no interaction with the public; and free
of production rate pace.
Id. at 21. The ALJ further found that Plaintiff has
no past relevant work.
on the VE's testimony, the ALJ concluded at step five
that Plaintiff could perform jobs existing in significant
numbers in the national economy including Warehouse Worker,
Industrial Cleaner, and Document Specialist. Id. at
27-28. Based on this finding, the ALJ concluded Plaintiff had
not been under a disability, as defined by the Social
Security Act, from February 1, 2014 through the date of the
decision. Id. at 27.
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review,
and therefore the ALJ's decision is the final decision of
the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.981;
Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d 1048, 1051 (10th Cir.
raises four issues. First, Plaintiff contends the ALJ made
improper “credibility” findings regarding
Plaintiff's mental conditions. Second, Plaintiff states
the ALJ erred at step two of the sequential analysis by
identifying her mental limitations generally as
“affective disorders” rather than specifying each
subcategory of affective disorders with which Plaintiff may
have been diagnosed. In her third and fourth assignments of
error, Plaintiff challenges the weight the ALJ afforded to
the opinion of Ginger Rader, LAPC, and contends the ALJ
failed to weigh the opinion of Lawrence K. Kaczmarek, M.D.
General Legal Standards Guiding Judicial Review
Court must determine whether the Commissioner's decision
is 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);
Doyal v. Barnhart, 331 F.3d 758, 760 (10th Cir.
2003). “Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence
as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. It requires more than a scintilla, but less than
a preponderance.” Lax v. Astrue, 489 F.3d
1080, 1084 (10th Cir. 2007) (citations and quotations
omitted). The “determination of whether the ALJ's
ruling is supported by substantial evidence must be based
upon the record taken as a whole. Consequently, [the ...