United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
SUZANNE MITCHELL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Wetselline (Plaintiff) brings this action for judicial review
of the Commissioner of Social Security's final decision
that he was not "disabled" under the terms of the
Social Security Act. See 42 U.S.C. §§
405(g), 423(d)(1)(A). The parties have consented under 28
U.S.C. § 636(c) to proceed before a United States
Magistrate Judge. Docs. 5, 11. After a careful review of the
record (AR), the parties' briefs, and the relevant
authority, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision.
Social Security Act defines "disability" as the
"inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity
by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental
impairment which can be expected to result in death or which
has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period
of not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C. §
423(d)(1)(A). "This twelve-month duration requirement
applies to the claimant's inability to engage in any
substantial gainful activity, and not just his underlying
impairment." Lax v. Astrue, 489 F.3d 1080, 1084
(10th Cir. 2007) (citing Barnhart v. Walton, 535
U.S. 212, 218-19 (2002)).
Burden of proof.
"bears the burden of establishing a disability" and
of "ma[king] a prima facie showing that he can no longer
engage in his prior work activity." Turner v.
Heckler, 754 F.2d 326, 328 (10th Cir. 1985). If
Plaintiff makes that prima facie showing, the burden of proof
then shifts to the Commissioner to show Plaintiff retains the
capacity to perform a different type of work and that such a
specific type of job exists in the national economy.
Administrative Law Judge's findings.
assigned to Plaintiffs case applied the standard regulatory
analysis in order to decide whether Plaintiff was disabled
during the relevant timeframe. AR 18-31; see 20
C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4); see also Wall v.
Astrue, 561 F.3d 1048, 1052 (10th Cir. 2009) (describing
the five-step process). Specifically, the ALJ found
(1) had severe degenerative disc disease of the cervical
spine, status post cervical fusion in September 2017; and
(2) did not have an impairment or combination of impairments
that met or medically equaled the severity of a listed
(3) had the residual functional capacity (RFC) for light
work with various additional exertional and nonexertional
(4) could not perform his past relevant work;
(5) was unable to perform any past relevant work, but could
perform jobs that exist in substantial numbers in the
national economy, such as apparel stock checker, motel
cleaner, and small parts assembler; and thus
(6) had not been under a disability as defined by the Social
Security Act since August 31, 2015, the date the ...