United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
H. MCCARTHY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
LAURIE LYNN H., seeks judicial review of a decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying
Social Security disability benefits. In accordance with 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c)(1) & (3), the parties have consented to
proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge.
role of the court in reviewing the decision of the
Commissioner under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) is limited to a
determination of whether the decision is supported by
substantial evidence and whether the decision contains a
sufficient basis to determine that the Commissioner has
applied the correct legal standards. See Briggs ex rel.
Briggs v. Massanari, 248 F.3d 1235, 1237 (10th Cir.
2001); Winfrey v. Chater, 92 F.3d 1017 (10th Cir.
1996); Castellano v. Secretary of Health & Human
Servs., 26 F.3d 1027, 1028 (10th Cir. 1994). Substantial
evidence is more than a scintilla, less than a preponderance,
and is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 14');">14');">14');">1420');">91 S.Ct. 14');">14');">14');">1420, 14');">14');">14');">1427, 28
L.Ed.2d 842 (1971) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v.
NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)). The court may neither
reweigh the evidence nor substitute its judgment for that of
the Commissioner. Casias v. Secretary of Health &
Human Servs., 993 F.2d 799, 800 (10th Cir. 1991). Even
if the court would have reached a different conclusion, if
supported by substantial evidence, the Commissioner's
decision stands. Hamilton v. Secretary of Health &
Human Servs., 14');">14');">14');">1495');">961 F.2d 14');">14');">14');">1495 (10th Cir. 1992).
was 49 years old on the alleged date of onset of disability
and 51 years old on the date of the denial decision. She has
a juris doctorate degree and past relevant work includes a
lawyer and security guard. [R. 27]. Plaintiff claims to have
been unable to work since March 9, 2015 due to lupus,
fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, bone spurs, anxiety,
depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and vision problems.
determined that Plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: systemic lupus erythematosus, osteoarthritis,
and affective disorder. [R. 17]. The ALJ determined that the
Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity to perform
light work, specifically, Plaintiff can lift and/or carry 20
pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently; sit, stand
and/or walk 6 of 8 hours with normal breaks; push and pull is
limited to 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently;
limited to simple, routine tasks and occasional contact with
the public. [R. 19]. The ALJ determined that Plaintiff could
not perform her past relevant work, however, based on the
testimony of the vocational expert, there are a significant
number of jobs in the national economy that Plaintiff could
perform. [R. 27-28]. Accordingly, the ALJ found Plaintiff was
not disabled. The case was thus decided at Step 5 of the
five-step evaluative sequence for determining whether a
claimant is disabled. See Williams v. Bowen, 844
F.2d 748, 750-52 (10th Cir. 1988) (discussing five steps in
asserts the ALJ: 1) erred in finding her not disabled and
capable of performing light unskilled work; and 2) failed to
properly consider the opinion of consultative examiner,
William L. Cooper, Ph.D. [Dkt. 14');">14');">14');">14, p. 2].
argues that the ALJ erred in finding her not disabled and
capable of performing light unskilled work. Plaintiff
contends that these findings are not supported by substantial
evidence. Further, the ALJ seems to particularly rely on
non-examining DDS medical opinion in reaching her conclusion.
[Dkt. 14');">14');">14');">14, p. 3-4].
examiner, Katherine E. Rankin, D.O., examined Plaintiff on
May 28, 2015. Plaintiff reported a history of lupus,
fibromyalgia, and chronic joint pain, particularly her hands,
elbows and neck. She rated her pain 7/10. Dr. Rankin noted
neck pain was appreciated with bilateral rotation and mild
decreased range of motion of bilateral shoulders. Plaintiff
was able to pick up and manipulate paperclips without
difficulty, she moved about the examination room easily, and
had full range of motion of her spine. Finger to thumb
opposition was adequate; straight leg raises were negative
bilaterally in seated and supine positions. Toe/heel walk was
normal and Plaintiff ambulated with a stable gait at an
appropriate speed. [R. 396-97]. Dr. Rankin performed a tender
point examination noting Plaintiff had 7of ...