United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
P. SHREDER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
claimant Randall Louis Zachry requests judicial review
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of the decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“Commissioner”) denying his application for
benefits under the Social Security Act. The claimant appeals
the decision of the Commissioner and asserts that the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in
determining he was not disabled. For the reasons discussed
below, the Commissioner's decision should be AFFIRMED.
Security Law and Standard of Review
under the Social Security Act is defined as the
“inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment[.]” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). A
claimant is disabled under the Social Security Act
“only if his physical or mental impairment or
impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable
to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age,
education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of
substantial gainful work which exists in the national
economy[.]” Id. § 423 (d)(2)(A). Social
security regulations implement a five-step sequential process
to evaluate a disability claim. See 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520, 416.920.
review of the Commissioner's determination is limited in
scope by 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). This Court's review is
limited to two inquiries: first, whether the decision was
supported by substantial evidence; and, second, whether the
correct legal standards were applied. Hawkins v.
Chater, 113 F.3d 1162, 1164 (10th Cir. 1997) [citation
omitted]. The term substantial evidence has been interpreted
by the United States Supreme Court to require
“‘more than a mere scintilla. It means such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.'” Richardson
v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971), quoting
Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229
(1938). The Court may not reweigh the evidence nor substitute
its discretion for that of the agency. Casias v.
Secretary of Health & Human Services, 933 F.2d 799,
800 (10th Cir. 1991). Nevertheless, the Court must review the
record as a whole, and “[t]he substantiality of
evidence must take into account whatever in the record fairly
detracts from its weight.” Universal Camera Corp.
v. NLRB, 340 U.S. 474, 488 (1951); see also
Casias, 933 F.2d at 800-01.
claimant was forty-seven years old at the time of the
administrative hearing (Tr. 27). He completed high school and
has worked as a truck driver and forklift driver (Tr. 21,
181). The claimant alleges inability to work since his
application date of February 11, 2015, due to a number of
impairments including an aneurysm behind his heart, high
blood pressure, sleep apnea, possible hernias, gout,
reconstructed acl, depression, and anxiety (Tr. 180).
claimant applied for supplemental security income benefits
under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 1381-85, on February 11, 2015. His application
was denied. Following an administrative hearing, ALJ Kevin
Batik found that the claimant was not disabled in a written
opinion dated March 21, 2017 (Tr. 15-23). The Appeals Council
denied review, so the ALJ's written opinion is the final
decision of the Commissioner for purposes of this appeal.
See 20 C.F.R. § 416.1581.
of the Administrative Law Judge
made his decision at step five of the sequential evaluation.
He found that the claimant had the ability to perform
sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 416.967(a), but
that he could understand, remember, and carry out only simple
tasks and instructions (Tr. 19). The ALJ concluded that even
though the claimant could not return to his past relevant
work, he was nevertheless not disabled because there was work
he could perform, i. e., callout operator, patcher,
or table worker (Tr. 21-22).
claimant contends that the ALJ erred by failing to discuss
evidence contrary to his findings, specifically evidence
related to his cardiac impairments, ACL repair, and
subjective statements made by the claimant and his father.
None of these contentions are ultimately persuasive, and the
decision of the Commissioner should therefore be affirmed.
found the claimant had the severe impairments of hypertensive
vascular disease, hypertension, gout, and obesity (Tr. 17).
The medical evidence in the record reflects that the claimant
was hospitalized in April 2014 with an acute onset of back
pain and uncontrolled hypertension and discharged four days
later with a diagnosis of stable retroperitoneal hematoma,
which had been diagnosed with a CT of the abdomen and pelvis
(Tr. 237-242, 252). Although the claimant underwent
cardiovascular testing, angiograms and echocardiograms were
normal at that time (Tr. 253-261, 348-350). The discharge
instructions stated that the claimant was to avoid heavy
weight lifting, moving large furniture, and trauma to the
back, and that he was to consume a heart healthy diet (Tr.
238). In September 2014, the claimant underwent a disability
determination through the state of Oklahoma, with Dr. William
Cooper, D.O. Dr. Cooper noted that the claimant's blood
pressure was 162/110, and that the claimant had pain with
range of motion testing of both knees and fingers in both
hands (Tr. 283). He assessed the claimant with cardiac
aneurysm, uncontrolled hypertension, gout, possible major
depression with psychotic ...