United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Kimberly E. West United States Magistrate Judge
Richard Allen Rogers (the “Claimant”) requests
judicial review of the decision of the Commissioner of the
Social Security Administration (the
“Commissioner”) denying Claimant's
application for disability benefits under the Social Security
Act. Claimant appeals the decision of the Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”) and asserts that the Commissioner
erred because the ALJ incorrectly determined that Claimant
was not disabled. For the reasons discussed below, it is the
recommendation of the undersigned that the Commissioner's
decision be REVERSED and the case REMANDED for further
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. . .” 42 U.S.C. §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 re-weigh the evidence nor
substitute its discretion for that of the agency. Casias
v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs., 933 F.2d 799,
800 (10th Cir. 1991). Nevertheless, the court must review the
record as a whole, and the “substantiality of the
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.
was 56 years old at the time of the ALJ's decision.
Claimant completed his education through the tenth grade.
Claimant worked in the past as a plasma cutter, mixer, tire
builder, oiler, and automatic press operator. Claimant
alleges an inability to work beginning January 28, 2016 due
to limitations resulting from diabetes, degenerative joint
disease, and problems with the clavicle.
December 23, 2015, Claimant protectively filed for
supplemental security income pursuant to Title XVI (42 U.S.C.
§ 1381, et seq.) of the Social Security Act. On
January 14, 2016, Claimant filed an application for
disability insurance benefits under Title II (42 U.S.C.
§ 401, et seq.) of the Social Security Act.
Claimant's applications were denied initially and upon
reconsideration. On December 7, 2016, Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”) Kenton W. Fulton conducted an
administrative hearing in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. On May 31,
2017, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. On April 28,
2018, the Appeals Council denied review. As a result, the
decision of the ALJ represents the Commissioner's final
decision for purposes of further appeal. 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.981, 416.1481.
of the Administrative Law Judge
made his decision at step four of the sequential evaluation.
He determined that while Claimant suffered from severe
impairments, he retained the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform his past relevant work. The
ALJ also determined Claimant's RFC permitted him to work
at less than a full range at the medium exertional level.
Alleged for Review
asserts the ALJ committed error in (1) failing to properly
evaluate the opinion of Dr. Paul Reel; and (2) reaching an
RFC which was not supported by substantial evidence.
of the ...