United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
MICHALE G. PRIDDY, Plaintiff,
ANDREW M. SAUL, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SHREDER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
claimant Michale G. Priddy requests judicial review of a
denial of benefits by the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). He
appeals the Commissioner's decision and asserts the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in
determining he was not disabled. For the reasons set forth
below, the Commissioner's decision is hereby 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.
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 forty-five years old at the time of the
administrative hearing (Tr. 37). He has a high school
education and has worked as a fast food cook (Tr. 38, 53,
181). The claimant alleges that he has been unable to work
since January 1, 2014, due to diabetes, stage four kidney
disease, fatigue, nervousness, tremors, and dizziness (Tr.
January 26, 2016, the claimant applied for supplemental
security income benefits under Title XVI of the Social
Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381-85 (Tr. 150-58).
His application was denied. ALJ Derek N. Phillips conducted
an administrative hearing and determined that the claimant
was not disabled in a written opinion dated April 18, 2017
(Tr. 16-28). The Appeals Council denied review, so the
ALJ's written opinion is 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 retained the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform the full range of
light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 416.967(b) (Tr.
22). The ALJ then concluded that although the claimant could
not return to his past relevant work, he was nevertheless not
disabled because there was work he could perform in the
national economy, e. g., packer and assembler (Tr.
claimant contends that the ALJ erred by failing to properly:
(i) analyze the opinion of treating physician Dr. Michael
Irvin, and (ii) evaluate his subjective statements. The Court
finds these contentions unpersuasive for the following
found that the claimant had the severe impairments of chronic
kidney disease (stage four), diabetes with neuropathy,
hypertension, and degenerative disc disease of the thoracic
spine, but that his obesity, anemia, and anxiety were
nonsevere (Tr. 18-19). The relevant medical records reveal
that Dr. Irvin regularly treated the claimant for
hypertension and diabetes from March 2014 through December
2016 (Tr. 345-61, 421-33, 478-82). In September 2015, the
claimant reported weakness and moderately intense tremors
several times per day, and Dr. ...