United States District Court, D. Colorado
RAYMOND P. MOORE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's request for
judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of
Defendant's denial of his application for disability
insurance benefits. (ECF No. 1.) The parties have fully
briefed the matter. For the reasons set forth below, the
Court affirms the Commissioner's decision.
filed his application in April 2016, alleging disability
beginning on November 14, 2015. In June 2017, after a hearing
at which Plaintiff testified and was represented by counsel,
an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) denied his
applied the five-step process for evaluating disability
claims. See Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d 1048, 1052
(10th Cir. 2009). At step one, the ALJ determined Plaintiff
had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the
alleged onset date. At step two, the ALJ determined Plaintiff
had the following severe impairments: fibromyalgia,
post-traumatic stress disorder, vertiginous syndrome,
osteoarthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome. At step three,
the ALJ determined Plaintiff's physical and mental
impairments, considered independently and in combination, did
not meet or equal the severity of a listed impairment.
reaching step four, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform
light work, subject to limitations. The applicable regulation
provides the following definition:
Light work involves lifting no more than 20 pounds at a time
with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to
10 pounds. Even though the weight lifted may be very little,
a job is in this category when it requires a good deal of
walking or standing, or when it involves sitting most of the
time with some pushing and pulling of arm or leg controls. To
be considered capable of performing a full or wide range of
light work, you must have ability to do substantially all of
20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(b). The ALJ further limited
Plaintiff's RFC as follows:
[Plaintiff] can lift/carry 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds
occasionally in an 8 hour day, sit for 6 hours with usual
breaks, and stand/walk for 6 hours per day. [Plaintiff] can
occasionally climb, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl.
[Plaintiff] can frequently handle and finger bilaterall y.
[Plaintiff] can have only occasional interaction with
coworkers, supervisors, and the general public. [Plaintiff]
is limited to understanding, remembering, and carrying out
only simple instructions. [Plaintiff] is limited to making
simple work related decisions. [Plaintiff] cannot deal with
more than routine changes in work settings.
(ECF No. 9-2 at 25, ¶ 5.)
four, the ALJ determined Plaintiff was unable to perform his
past relevant work as a journeyman electrician. But at step
five, the ALJ determined that given Plaintiff's RFC, age,
education, and work experience, he could do other jobs
existing in significant numbers in the national economy,
including small product assembler, electronics worker, and
Appeals Council denied review, making the ALJ's decision
final. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.981. Plaintiff
argues the ALJ erred by (1) giving great weight to some, but
not all, of a medical opinion by an examining physician, Dr.
Ronald Jendry, (2) failing to adequately explain his RFC,
specifically the basis for the ALJ's determination that
he was able to handle and finger frequently, and (3) failing
to give sufficient weight to two opinions from treating
sources, Dr. Seth Gursky and Mr. Shawn Griffin.
Court reviews the ALJ's decision to determine whether the
factual findings are supported by substantial evidence and
whether the correct legal standards were applied. Mays v.
Colvin, 739 F.3d 569, 571 (10th Cir. 2014).
“Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. It requires more than a scintilla, but less than
a preponderance.” Wall, 561 F.3d at 1052
(quotation omitted). To determine whether the substantiality
test has been met, the Court meticulously examines the record
as a whole, including anything that may undercut or detract
from the ALJ's findings, but the Court does not reweigh
the evidence or retry the case. Id. “The
possibility of drawing two inconsistent ...