United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
CHAD M. DOTY, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
KIMBERLY E. WEST UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Chad M. Doty (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 finding of this Court
that the Commissioner's decision should be and is
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 47 years old at the time of the ALJ's decision.
Claimant completed his high school education. Claimant has
worked in the past as a truck driver, yard spotter, and
diesel mechanic. Claimant alleges an inability to work
beginning August 17, 2013 due to limitations resulting from
right shoulder and arm problems caused by a work accident.
February 1, 2016, Claimant protectively filed for disability
insurance benefits under Title II (42 U.S.C. § 401,
et seq.) of the Social Security Act. Claimant's
application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On
April 3, 2017, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
Lantz McClain conducted an administrative hearing by video
with Claimant appearing in Poteau, Oklahoma and the ALJ
presiding from Tulsa, Oklahoma. On June 6, 2017, the ALJ
issued an unfavorable decision. On February 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,
of the Administrative Law Judge
made his decision at step five of the sequential evaluation.
He determined that while Claimant suffered from severe
impairments, he retained the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform sedentary work.
Alleged for Review
asserts the ALJ committed error in (1) reaching an improper
RFC determination (with several associated sub-issues
listed); and (2) finding Claimant could perform the jobs
identified in the decision at step five.