United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ERWIN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
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 denying Plaintiff's
application for benefits under the Social Security Act. The
Commissioner has answered and filed a transcript of the
administrative record (hereinafter TR.). The parties have
consented to jurisdiction over this matter by a United States
magistrate judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
parties have briefed their positions, and the matter is now
at issue. Based on the Court's review of the record and
the issues presented, the Court REVERSES AND
REMANDS the Commissioner's decision.
and on reconsideration, the Social Security Administration
denied Plaintiff's application for benefits. Following a
hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an
unfavorable decision. (TR. 23-33). The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review. (TR. 1-3). Thus, the
decision of the ALJ became the final decision of the
THE ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
followed the five-step sequential evaluation process required
by agency regulations. See Fischer-Ross v. Barnhart,
431 F.3d 729, 731 (10th Cir. 2005); 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520. At step one, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had
not engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 27,
2016, her alleged onset date. (TR. 25). At step two, the ALJ
determined that Ms. Southard had the following severe
impairments: obesity; migraine headaches; asthma; depression;
and anxiety. (TR. 25). At step three, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or medically equal
any of the presumptively disabling impairments listed at 20
C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (TR. 26).
four, the ALJ concluded that Ms. Southard could not perform
her past relevant work, but retained the residual functional
capacity (RFC) to:
[P]erform a reduced range of light work as defined in 20 CFR
404.1567(b). Specifically, she cannot climb ladders, ropes,
or scaffolds. She can occasionally climb ramps or stairs,
balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. In addition, she
can have frequent exposure to extreme temperatures, and
environmental respiratory irritants and humidity. She is
limited to simple, repetitive, routine tasks. Lastly, she can
have no strict production requirements; and can have frequent
contact with co-workers, supervisors and the public.
(TR. 28, 31).
five, the ALJ presented the RFC limitations to a vocational
expert (VE) to determine whether there were other jobs in the
national economy that Plaintiff could perform. (TR. 65-66).
Given the limitations, the VE identified three jobs from the
Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). (TR. 66). The ALJ
adopted the VE's testimony and concluded that Ms.
Southard was not disabled at step five. (TR. 32-33).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court reviews the Commissioner's final decision “to
determin[e] whether the factual findings are supported by
substantial evidence in the record and whether the correct
legal standards were applied.” Wilson v.
Astrue, 602 F.3d 1136, 1140 (10th Cir. 2010). Under the
“substantial evidence” standard, a court looks to
an existing administrative record and asks whether it
contains “sufficien[t] evidence” to support the
agency's factual determinations. Biestek v.
Berryhill, 139 S.Ct. 1148, 1154 (2019).
“Substantial evidence … is more than a mere
scintilla … and means only-such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Biestek v. Berryhill, 139 S.Ct.
at 1154 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).
the court considers whether the ALJ followed the applicable
rules of law in weighing particular types of evidence in
disability cases, the court will “neither reweigh the
evidence nor substitute [its] judgment for that of the
agency.” Vigil v. ...