United States District Court, D. Colorado
T.D.B., a minor, by and through his mother, Raisa Simmons Burrell, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
A. BRIMMER United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on the Complaint [Docket No. 1]
filed by plaintiff T.D.B. on June 23, 2016. Plaintiff seeks
review of the final decision of defendant Nancy A. Berryhill
(the “Commissioner”) denying his claim for
supplemental security income under Title XVI of the Social
Security Act (the “Act”), 42 U.S.C. §§
401-33 and 1381-83c. The Court has jurisdiction to review the
Commissioner's final decision under 42 U.S.C. §
7, 2013, plaintiff applied for supplemental security income
under Title XVI of the Act. R. at 32. Plaintiff alleged that
he had been disabled since January 1, 2007. Id.
Plaintiff later amended his alleged onset date of disability
to June 7, 2013. Id. After an initial administrative
denial of his claim, plaintiff received a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on December 16,
2014. Id. On January 29, 2015, the ALJ issued a
decision denying plaintiff's claim. Id. at
found that plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
depression, learning disorder, and attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder. Id. at 35. The ALJ concluded
that these impairments, alone or in combination, did not meet
one of the regulations' listed impairments, id.,
and ruled that plaintiff did not have an impairment that
functionally equaled the severity of the listings.
Id. at 35-46. The ALJ concluded that plaintiff had a
marked limitation in interacting and relating with others and
did not have an extreme limitation in any functional domain.
Id. at 39-45.
April 19, 2016, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's
request for review of the ALJ's denial of his claim.
Id. at 1-4. Given the Appeals Council's denial,
the ALJ's decision is the final decision of the
Standard of Review
of the Commissioner's finding that a claimant is not
disabled is limited to determining whether the Commissioner
applied the correct legal standards and whether the decision
is supported by substantial evidence in the record as a
whole. See Angel v. Barnhart, 329 F.3d 1208, 1209
(10th Cir. 2003). The district court may not reverse an ALJ
simply because the court may have reached a different result
based on the record; the question instead is whether there is
substantial evidence showing that the ALJ was justified in
her decision. See Ellison v. Sullivan, 929 F.2d 534,
536 (10th Cir. 1990). “Substantial evidence is more
than a mere scintilla and is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Flaherty v. Astrue, 515 F.3d
1067, 1070 (10th Cir. 2007). Moreover, “[e]vidence is
not substantial if it is overwhelmed by other evidence in the
record or constitutes mere conclusion.” Musgrave v.
Sullivan, 966 F.2d 1371, 1374 (10th Cir. 1992). The
district court will not “reweigh the evidence or retry
the case, ” but must “meticulously examine the
record as a whole, including anything that may undercut or
detract from the ALJ's findings in order to determine if
the substantiality test has been met.”
Flaherty, 515 F.3d at 1070. Nevertheless,
“if the ALJ failed to apply the correct legal test,
there is a ground for reversal apart from a lack of
substantial evidence.” Thompson v. Sullivan,
987 F.2d 1482, 1487 (10th Cir. 1993).
The Three-Step Evaluation Process
child is considered disabled if she has ‘a medically
determinable physical or mental impairment, which results in
marked and severe functional limitations, and . . . which has
lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of
not less than 12 months.'” Taylor v.
Berryhill, 679 F. App'x 661, 662 (10th Cir. 2017)
(unpublished) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(C)(i)).
Commissioner has established a three-step sequential
evaluation process to determine whether a child is disabled.
20 C.F.R. § 416.924(a); Briggs ex rel. Briggs v.
Massanari, 248 F.3d 1235, 1237 (10th Cir. 2001). The
steps of the evaluation are:
(1) that the child is not engaged in substantial gainful
activity, (2) that the child has an impairment or combination
of impairments that is severe, and (3) that the child's
impairment meets or equals an impairment listed in Appendix
1, Subpart P of 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404.
Briggs, 248 F.3d at 1237 (citing 20 C.F.R. §
416.924(a)). Under step three of the evaluation, the ALJ is
required to assess a child's ability to ...