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Mando v. Saul

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

January 2, 2020

USSAMA A. MANDO, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW M. SAUL, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          SUZANNE MITCHELL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Ussama A. Mando (Plaintiff) brings this action for judicial review of the Commissioner of Social Security's final decision that he was not "disabled" under the Social Security Act. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 423(d)(1)(A). The parties have consented under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge. Docs. 10, 14.[1]Plaintiff takes issue with the ALJ's residual functionality capacity assessment[2] and his treatment of Plaintiffs subjective statements. Doc. 19, at 13-22. After a careful review of the record (AR), the parties' briefs, and the relevant authority, the court reverses the Commissioner's decision and remands the case for further review. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         I. Administrative determination.

         A. Disability standard.

         The Social Security Act defines "disability" as the "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). "This twelve-month duration requirement applies to the claimant's inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity, and not just his underlying impairment." Lax v. Astrue, 489 F.3d 1080, 1084 (10th Cir. 2007) (citing Barnhart v. Walton, 535 U.S. 212, 218-19 (2002)).

         B. Burden of proof.

         Plaintiff "bears the burden of establishing a disability" and of "ma[king] a prima facie showing that he can no longer engage in his prior work activity." Turner v. Heckler, 754 F.2d 326, 328 (10th Cir. 1985). If Plaintiff makes that prima facie showing, the burden of proof then shifts to the Commissioner to show Plaintiff retains the capacity to perform a different type of work and that such a specific type of job exists in the national economy. Id.

         C. Relevant findings.

         1. Administrative Law Judge's findings.

         The ALJ assigned to Plaintiffs case applied the standard regulatory analysis to decide whether Plaintiff was disabled during the relevant timeframe. AR 12-26; see 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4); see also Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d 1048, 1052 (10th Cir. 2009) (describing the five-step process). The ALJ found Plaintiff:

(1) had the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine; degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine; diabetes mellitus type 2; depression; and anxiety;
(2) did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of a listed impairment;
(3) had the residual functional capacity for light work except he could only stand/walk up to six hours in an eight hour day, could sit up to six hours in an eight hour day, could no more than frequently stoop or climb ramps/stairs, could no more than occasionally crawl or climb ladders/ropes/scaffolds, and could perform and follow simple and detailed tasks and instructions;
(4) could not perform his past relevant work as a restaurant manager or cook as Plaintiff had actually or generally performed them;
(5) could perform jobs that exist in substantial numbers in the national economy, such as lunch cook, short order cook, and cafeteria/food service worker; and thus
(6) had not been under a disability as defined by the Social Security Act from May 10, 2015 through December 28, 2017.

AR 14-26.

         2. Appeals ...


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