United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SHREDER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
claimant Cecilia Yarbrough requests judicial review pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of the decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“Commissioner”) denying benefits for her
grandson J.B.S. under the Social Security Act. The claimant
appeals the decision of the Commissioner and asserts that the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in
determining J.B.S. was not disabled. For the reasons
discussed below, the Commissioner’s decision is hereby
Security Law and Standard of Review
for persons under the age of eighteen according to the Social
Security Act is defined as a medically determinable physical
or mental impairment or combination of impairments that
causes marked and severe functional limitations and that can
be expected to cause death or that has lasted or can be
expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
twelve months. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.906. Social
Security Regulations implement a three-step sequential
process to evaluate a claim for Child’s Supplemental
Security Income Benefits under Title XVI of the Social
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
and Procedural History
was ten years old at the time of the administrative hearing
(Tr. 36, 151). The claimant alleges J.B.S. was disabled as of
February 1, 2012, due to attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder (“ADHD”), explosive mood disorder, and
depression (Tr. 45, 172). On June 30, 2015, the claimant
filed an application for supplemental security income
benefits under Title XVI (42 U.S.C. § 1381 et
seq.) (Tr. 151-79). Her application was denied. ALJ
Deirdre O. Dexter conducted an administrative hearing and
determined that J.B.S. was not disabled in a written opinion
dated March 31, 2017 (Tr. 12-30). The Appeals Council denied
review, so the ALJ’s findings represent the
Commissioner’s final decision for purposes of this
appeal. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.1481.
of the Administrative Law Judge
made her decision at step three of the sequential evaluation.
She determined J.B.S. had the severe impairments of
depressive disorder, ADHD, and impulse control disorder, but
that such impairments did not meet and were neither medically
nor functionally equivalent to any of the relevant listings
(Tr. 15-29). The ALJ thus concluded that J.B.S. was not
disabled (Tr. 29-30).
claimant contends that the ALJ erred by failing to: (i)
specifically analyze whether J.B.S. met or medically equaled
Listing 112.05 for intellectual disorders, and (ii) consider
all of the evidence in determining whether J.B.S. met or
medically equaled Listing 112.11 for neurodevelopment
disorders and whether J.B.S.’s impairments were
functionally equivalent to a listing. The Court finds these
relevant medical evidence reveals that Dr. Eric Broadway
regularly treated the claimant for ADHD from May 2013 through
December 2016 (Tr. 319-67, 374-88, 419-21). Initial treatment
notes reflect persistent hyperactivity, aggressive behavior,
and/or difficulty focusing despite treatment, but by December
2014 J.B.S.’s concentration was good and there were no
complaints about his behavior (Tr. 333-67). Thereafter,
J.B.S. was consistently “doing well” with good
concentration/focus and a good mood through August 2016 (Tr.
319-32, 374-87). At a follow-up appointment in December 2016,
J.B.S.’s grandmother indicated he needed medication for
depression and J.B.S. agreed that he was feeling depressed
November 2014, Randy Randleman, Ph.D., performed a
psychological consultative examination of J.B.S. (Tr.
305-16). He observed that J.B.S. approached the session in a
quiet and reserved manner, was suspicious but cooperative,
was often fidgety, worked slowly through the tasks, and
wanted to give up on most items when they became difficult
(Tr. 307, 311). Dr. Randleman administered the
Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Ability
(“WJ-III”) and indicated J.B.S.’s standard
score of 76 placed him in the low range of overall
intellectual ability (Tr. 307, 309). Dr. Randleman found
J.B.S.’s inductive reasoning, word knowledge and
comprehension, visual-auditory learning and retrieval
ability, and sight reading ability were mildly impaired; his
automatic cognitive processing and spelling ability were
mildly impaired to within normal limits; and his ability to
recall details of complex stories and math calculation skills
were normal (Tr. 308). He indicated that J.B.S.’s
academic skills were within the average range when compared
to others his age (Tr. 314). Dr. Randleman diagnosed the
claimant with unspecified disruptive, impulse control, and
conduct disorder; ADHD; and persistent depressive disorder
(dysthymia) (Tr. 315).
was initially placed on an Individualized Education Program
(“IEP”) on February 26, 2013 (first grade) (Tr.
207-11). His IEP showed his standard score of 82 on the
WJ-III test administered in October 2012 placed him in the
low average range of intellectual ability but his academic
skills in sight reading, math calculation, and spelling were
within normal limits (Tr. 202). It was determined that J.B.S.
needed modifications in the classroom because his ADHD
adversely affected his educational performance (Tr. 211).
J.B.S.’s subsequent IEP in May 2015 (second grade)
showed he was reading at a beginning of first grade level;
his strengths were visual processing, fluid reasoning,
letter-word identification, and calculation; and he was
placed in a regular classroom with monitoring once per week
for his reading, language arts, and math skills (Tr. 182-83).
J.B.S.’s March 2016 IEP (third grade) showed he was
reading at an end of second grade ...