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Posey v. Saul

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

July 18, 2019

DIANA POSEY, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW SAUL, [1] Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BERNARD M. JONES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, Diana Posey, seeks judicial review of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) denial of her applications for disability insurance benefits (DIB) and supplemental security income (SSI).[2] Chief United States District Judge Tim DeGiusti has referred the matter for proposed findings and recommendations. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and (C). The Commissioner has filed the Administrative Record (AR), [Doc. No. 13], and both parties have briefed their positions.[3]For the reasons set forth below, it is recommended that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed.

         I. Procedural Background

         On November 24, 2017, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an unfavorable decision finding Plaintiff was not disabled and, therefore, not entitled to DIB or SSI. AR 15-30. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. Id. at 1-6. 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.

         II. The ALJ's Decision

         The ALJ 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. §§ 404.1520, 416.920. The ALJ first determined Plaintiff met the insured status requirement through March 31, 2018 and has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since November 20, 2015, her alleged onset date. AR 17.

         At step two, the ALJ determined Plaintiff suffers from the following severe impairments: “COPD, history of hip surgery, ovarian cysts, degenerative disc disease, status post multiple injury sustained in a remote motor vehicle accident by history, arthritis, obesity, [post-traumatic stress disorder], generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder without agoraphobia.” Id. Then, at step three, the ALJ found Plaintiff's 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 18-19.

         The ALJ next determined Plaintiff's residual functional capacity (RFC), concluding that:

[she can] lift and carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. [She] can sit for about 6 hours during an eight-hour workday and can stand and walk for about 6 hours during an eight-hour workday. [She] can occasionally climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. [She] is to avoid concentrated exposure to dusts, fumes, gases, odors, and poor ventilation. [She] can understand, remember, and carry out simple and some, but not all more complex tasks involving objects and/or non-complex data with routine supervision with the capacity to perform 1-4 step instructions for two-hour periods over the course of a normal workday/workweek. [She] can respond appropriately to supervisors and co-workers on a superficial work basis and can perform work where interaction with others is incidental to the work performed. [She] can have no contact with the general public. [She] can respond to usual work situations.

Id. at 20.

         Finally, at step four, the ALJ determined Plaintiff can perform her past work as a can line operator, both as she performed it and as performed in the national economy and is therefore not disabled for purposes of the Social Security Act. Id. at 29-30.

         III. Claims Presented for Judicial Review

         Plaintiff alleges that the ALJ: (1) erred in finding Plaintiff can perform her past work as a can line operator, and (2) gave a consultative examiner's opinion only partial weight without identifying any evidence to support his decision. See Pl.'s Br. at 3-8. The Court examines these allegations below in reverse order.

         IV. Stand ...


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