United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
P. SHREDER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
claimant Danielle Sandra Gatzman requests judicial review of
a denial of benefits by the Commissioner of the Social
Security Administration pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
She appeals the Commissioner's decision and asserts that
the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in
determining she was not disabled. Additionally, the claimant
filed a motion requesting oral argument. For the reasons
discussed below, the motion requesting oral argument is
hereby DENIED and the Commissioner's decision should be
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 h[er] physical or mental impairment or
impairments are of such severity that [s]he is not only
unable to do h[er] previous work but cannot, considering
h[er] 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.
405(g) limits the scope of judicial review of the
Commissioner's decision to two inquiries: whether the
decision was supported by substantial evidence and whether
correct legal standards were applied. See Hawkins v.
Chater, 113 F.3d 1162, 1164 (10th Cir. 1997).
Substantial evidence is “‘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); see also Clifton v.
Chater, 79 F.3d 1007, 1009 (10th Cir. 1996). The Court
may not reweigh the evidence or substitute its discretion for
the Commissioner's. See Casias v. Secretary of Health
& Human Services, 933 F.2d 799, 800 (10th Cir.
1991). But 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
claimant was twenty-four years old at the time of the
administrative hearing (Tr. 43). She has a high school
education and has worked as a communications technician (Tr.
60, 288). The claimant alleges that she has been unable to
work since January 1, 2015, due to posttraumatic stress
disorder (“PTSD”) and anxiety (Tr. 287).
August 1, 2016, the claimant applied for disability insurance
benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 401-434 (Tr. 12, 245-46). Her application was
denied. ALJ Lantz McClain conducted an administrative hearing
and a supplemental hearing and determined that the claimant
was not disabled through her date last insured of June 30,
2016, in a written opinion dated March 1, 2018 (Tr. 12-30).
The Appeals Council denied review, so the ALJ's written
opinion represents the Commissioner's final decision for
purposes of this appeal. See 20 C.F.R. §
of the Administrative Law Judge
made his decision at step five of the sequential evaluation.
He found the claimant could perform work at all exertional
levels, but was limited to simple repetitive tasks, could
relate to supervisors and coworkers superficially, and could
not work with the public (Tr. 18). The ALJ then concluded
that although the claimant could not return to her past
relevant work, she was nevertheless not disabled because
there was work she could perform in the national economy,
i. e., hand packager and laundry worker (Tr. 28-30).
claimant contends that the ALJ erred by: (i) improperly
determining that she did not meet the requirements of
Appendix 1, Part 404, Subpart P (“the Listings”),
specifically Listings 12.04, 12.06, and 12.15; (ii) failing
to properly assess the evidence at step four in determining
her RFC; (iii) improperly discounting her subjective
statements; and (iv) ignoring the testimony of the Vocational
Expert (“VE”). At step four, the claimant
specifically asserts that the ALJ failed to properly evaluate
the evidence from treating physician Dr. Raidoo, consultative
physician Dr. Rippy, and medical expert Dr. Simonds, and
failed to properly account for her disability rating from the
Veteran's Administration (“VA”). The
undersigned Magistrate Judge finds these contentions
unpersuasive for the following reasons.
found the claimant had the severe impairments of anxiety,
PTSD, and depression, but that her migraine headaches were
nonsevere (Tr. 15-16). The relevant medical evidence reveals
that the claimant received treatment exclusively through the
Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center. On March 22, 2014,
claimant presented to the emergency department seeking mental
health services because she was sexually assaulted by a
civilian in June 2013 while serving in the Army, was having