United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
T. 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 REVERSES AND
REMANDS the Commissioner's decision.
and on reconsideration, the Social Security Administration
denied Plaintiff's application for benefits. Following a
hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an
unfavorable decision. (TR. 15-25). The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review. (TR. 1-3). Thus, the
decision of the ALJ became the final decision of the
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. §
404.1520. At step one, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff did
not engage in substantial gainful activity between her
alleged onset date of June 4, 2015 through December 31, 2016,
her date last insured. (TR. 17). At step two, the ALJ
determined that Ms. Johnson had the following severe
impairments: arthralgias; chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease; hypertension; obesity; and Major Depressive
Disorder. (TR. 17). 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. 18).
four, the ALJ concluded that during the relevant period, Ms.
Johnson retained the residual functional capacity (RFC) to:
[P]erform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except
no more than occasional exposure to extreme temperatures,
environmental, and respiratory irritants and humidity; no
more than simple, routine, repetitive tasks.
(TR. 19-20). At the administrative hearing, a vocational
expert (VE) testified that Ms. Johnson had performed past
relevant work as a “ticket seller, ” which was
classified in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT)
under code # 211.462-030. (TR. 54-55). The VE also stated
that this job was performed at the “light”
exertional level, with a specific vocational preparation
level (SVP) of 2, and was considered “unskilled”
work. (TR. 54-55). The ALJ then asked the VE whether
Plaintiff could perform this past relevant work, given the
limitations in the RFC. (TR. 55). The VE replied
affirmatively. (TR. 55). The ALJ then adopted the VE's
testimony and concluded that Ms. Johnson was not disabled at
step four. (TR. 24).
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). Under the
“substantial evidence” standard, a court looks to
an existing administrative record and asks whether it
contains “sufficien[t] evidence” to support the
agency's factual determinations. Biestek v.
Berryhill, 139 S.Ct. 1148, 1154 (2019).
“Substantial evidence … is more than a mere
scintilla … and means only-such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Biestek v. Berryhill, 139 S.Ct.
at 1154 (internal citations and quotation marks 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).