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Barbara F. v. Saul

United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma

September 6, 2019

BARBARA F., Plaintiff,
v.
Andrew M. Saul, [1] Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          FRANK H. McCARTHY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, BARBARA F., seeks judicial review of a decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying disability benefits.[2] In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1) & (3), the parties have consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge.

         Standard of Review

         The role of the court in reviewing the decision of the Commissioner under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) is limited to a determination of whether the decision is supported by substantial evidence and whether the decision contains a sufficient basis to determine that the Commissioner has applied the correct legal standards. See Briggs ex rel. Briggs v. Massanari, 248 F.3d 1235, 1237 (10th Cir. 2001); Winfrey v. Chater, 92 F.3d 1017 (10th Cir. 1996); Castellano v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs., 26 F.3d 1027, 1028 (10th Cir. 1994). Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla, less than a preponderance, and is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S.Ct. 1420, 1427, 28 L.Ed.2d 842 (1971) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)). The court may neither reweigh the evidence nor substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner. Casias v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs., 993 F.2d 799, 800 (10th Cir. 1991). Even if the court would have reached a different conclusion, if supported by substantial evidence, the Commissioner's decision stands. Hamilton v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs., 961 F.2d 1495 (10th Cir. 1992).

         Background

         Plaintiff was 63 years old on the alleged date of onset of disability and 67 on the date of the denial decision. Plaintiff has her Bachelor's degree in history and her past work experience includes utilization repair technician. Plaintiff claims to have become disabled as of April 8, 2014[3] due to neuropathy, problems with her left wrist, depression, and anxiety. [Dkt. 13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13, p. 1].

         The ALJ's Decision

         The ALJ found that Plaintiff has severe impairments relating to brain aneurysm, left arm fracture, and neuropathy of the feet. [R. 17]. The ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity to perform light exertional work and is able to lift and/or carry, push and/or push (sic) 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, stand and/or walk for 20 minutes at one time, and up to 2 hours in an 8-hour workday, sit for about 6-8 hours out of an 8-hour workday, frequently finger, handle, and feel with the left hand. [R. 20]. The ALJ determined that Plaintiff was able to perform her past relevant work as a utilization repair technician. [R. 31]. Therefore, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled as defined by the Social Security Act. [R. 31]. The case was thus decided at step 4 of the five-step evaluative sequence for determining whether Plaintiff is disabled. See Williams v. Bowen, 844 F.2d 748, 750-52 (10th Cir. 1988) (discussing five steps in detail).

         Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff asserts that the ALJ failed to: 1) properly consider the medical opinions; 2) properly consider Plaintiff's allegations; and 3) properly consider Plaintiff's mental impairments. [Dkt. 13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13, p. 4].

         Analysis

         Medical Opinions

         Plaintiff argues that the ALJ failed to properly consider the opinions of consultative examiners, Drs. Carroll and DeLaughter, and treating physician, Dr. Saizow. [Dkt. 13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');">13');" ...


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