United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
RYKI G. HUDSON, Plaintiff,
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
CHARLES B. GOODWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
OPINION AND ORDER
Ryki G. Hudson 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
(“SSA”) denying Plaintiff's application for
disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) under Title
II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§
401-434. Upon review of the administrative record (Doc. No.
10, hereinafter “R.___ ”),  and the arguments
and authorities submitted by the parties, the Court affirms
the Commissioner's decision.
History And Administrative Decision
protectively filed her DIB application on May 22, 2015,
alleging a disability onset date of September 1, 2014. R. 10,
268-71. Following denial of her application initially and on
reconsideration, a hearing was held before an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”) on October 20, 2016. R. 10,
64-101, 123-27, 129-31. A supplemental hearing was held on
May 2, 2017, at which a vocational expert (“VE”)
testified. R. 10, 42-63. The ALJ issued an unfavorable
decision on August 15, 2017. R. 7-36.
relevant here, the Commissioner uses a five-step sequential
evaluation process to determine entitlement to disability
benefits. See Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d 1048, 1052
(10th Cir. 2009); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520. At step one, the
ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since September 1, 2014, the alleged onset
date. R. 12. At step two, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff
had the severe impairments of obesity and schizophrenia. R.
12-19. At step three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's
condition did not meet or equal any of the presumptively
disabling impairments listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1. R. 19-21.
next assessed Plaintiff's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) based on all of her medically
determinable impairments. R. 21-28. The ALJ found that
[Plaintiff] has the [RFC] to perform sedentary work as
defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) except sit 6 hours in an 8 hour
workday; stand/walk 2 hours in an 8 hour workday; no climbing
of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; can perform simple tasks
with routine supervision, no public contact or customer
service work; able to interact appropriately with supervisors
and co-workers on a superficial work basis; able to adapt to
21-28. At step four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was unable
to perform her past relevant work. R. 28.
five, the ALJ considered whether there were jobs existing in
significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff-in
view of her age, education, work experience, and RFC-could
perform. R. 28-29. Relying upon the VE's testimony
regarding the degree of erosion to the unskilled sedentary
occupational base caused by Plaintiff's additional
limitations, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff could perform
the light, unskilled occupation of office helper and the
sedentary, unskilled occupations of table worker and document
preparer. The ALJ additionally found that such occupations
offered jobs that exist in significant numbers in the
national economy. R. 29. Therefore, the ALJ concluded that
Plaintiff has not been disabled within the meaning of the
Social Security Act during the relevant time period. R. 29.
request for review by the SSA Appeals Council was denied, and
the unfavorable determination of the ALJ stands as the
Commissioner's final decision. See R. 1-6; 20
C.F.R. § 404.981.
review of the Commissioner's final decision is limited to
determining whether factual findings are supported by
substantial evidence in the record as a whole and whether
correct legal standards were applied. Poppa v.
Astrue, 569 F.3d 1167, 1169 (10th Cir. 2009).
“Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Doyal v. Barnhart, 331 F.3d 758,
760 (10th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted).
“A decision is not based on substantial evidence if it
is overwhelmed by other evidence in the record or if there is
a mere scintilla of evidence supporting it.” Branum
v. Barnhart, 385 F.3d 1268, 1270 (10th Cir. 2004)
(internal quotation marks omitted). The court
“meticulously examine[s] the record as a whole, ”
including any evidence “that may undercut or detract
from the ALJ's findings, ” “to determine if
the substantiality test has been met.” Wall,
561 F.3d at 1052 (internal quotation marks omitted). While a
reviewing court considers whether the Commissioner followed
applicable rules of law in weighing particular types of
evidence in disability cases, the court does not reweigh the
evidence or substitute its own judgment for that of the
Commissioner. Bowman v. Astrue, 511 F.3d 1270, 1272
(10th Cir. 2008).
request for judicial review, Plaintiff contends that the ALJ
improperly evaluated the medical opinions of Plaintiff's
treating psychiatrist, Everett Bayne, MD, and those of
state-agency psychologists. See Pl.'s Br. (Doc.
No. 21) at 10-17.
The ALJ's Assessment of Dr. ...