United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
BARBARA BARRETT O/B/O GLEN D. BARRETT, Plaintiff,
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security,  Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
Charles B. Goodwin United States District Judge.
Glen D. Barrett brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) for judicial review of the final decision of
the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) denying Plaintiff’s application for
disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) under Title
II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§
401-434. The Court has reviewed the administrative record
(Doc. No. 10, hereinafter “R. ”),  and the arguments
and authorities submitted by the parties. The
Commissioner’s decision is affirmed.
PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
protectively filed his DIB application on October 29, 2014,
and ultimately alleged disability beginning March 1, 2010. R.
18, 46, 175-81. The SSA denied his application initially and
on reconsideration. R. 62-89. At Plaintiff’s request,
an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) held a
hearing on August 3, 2016, after which the ALJ issued an
unfavorable decision on May 17, 2017. R. 15-61.
followed the five-step sequential evaluation process in
determining Plaintiff was not entitled to disability
benefits. See Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d 1048, 1052
(10th Cir. 2009); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520. At step one, the
ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity during the relevant time period. R. 21. At
step two, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff has severe
impairments of: emphysema; costochondritis; lumbago; major
depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate to severe, without
psychotic features; and generalized anxiety disorder. R.
three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff does not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that meets or
medically equals the severity of any of the presumptively
disabling impairments listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1 (the “Listings”). R. 25-27.
next assessed Plaintiff’s residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) during the relevant period, based on all
of his medically determinable impairments, and found:
[T]hrough the date last insured, [Plaintiff] had the [RFC] to
perform “medium work, ” as defined in 20 CFR
404.1567(c), except that [Plaintiff] can only: have no more
than occasional exposure to irritants, such as dusts, fumes,
smoke, gases, and poor ventilation; have no more than
occasional exposure to high humidity and wetness; understand,
remember, and carry out 1 to 3 step simple instructions; make
only simple work related decisions; and deal with only
occasional changes in work processes and environment.
R 27. At step four, the ALJ considered the hearing testimony
of the vocational expert (“VE”) and found that
Plaintiff was not capable of performing any past relevant
work. R. 33.
five, the ALJ considered whether there are jobs existing in
significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff-in
view of his age, education, work experience, and RFC-could
perform. R. 33-34. Relying upon the VE’s testimony, the
ALJ found that Plaintiff could perform unskilled occupations
such as laundry worker, hand packager, and machine attendant,
and that these occupations offer jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy. R. 34. The ALJ
therefore determined that Plaintiff had not been disabled
within the meaning of the Social Security Act during the
relevant period. R. 34.
Appeals Council denied review of the ALJ’s decision. R.
1-6. The ALJ’s unfavorable decision stands as the
Commissioner’s final decision. See 20 C.F.R.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court’s judicial review of the Commissioner’s
final decision is limited to determining whether factual
findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record
as a whole and whether correct legal standards were applied.
Poppa v. Astrue, 569 F.3d 1167, 1169 (10th Cir.
2009). “Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence
as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Doyal v. Barnhart, 331 F.3d 758,
760 (10th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted).
“A decision is not based on substantial evidence if it
is overwhelmed by other evidence in the record or if there is
a mere scintilla of evidence supporting it.” Branum
v. Barnhart, 385 F.3d 1268, 1270 (10th Cir. 2004)
(internal quotation marks omitted). The court
“meticulously examine[s] the record as a whole, ”
including any evidence “that may undercut or detract
from the ALJ’s findings, ” in determining whether
the ALJ’s decision is supported by substantial
evidence. Wall, 561 F.3d at 1052 (internal quotation
marks omitted). Though a reviewing ...