United States District Court, D. Utah
JOHN R. GRANGE, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
B. Pead United States Magistrate Judge
parties in this case have consented to having United States
Magistrate Judge Dustin B. Pead conduct all proceedings in
this case, including entry of final judgment, with appeal to
the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
(See 28 U.S.C. § 636 (c); F.R.C.P. 73; Docket
(“Dkt.”) 16). Plaintiff John R. Grange
(“Mr. Grange”) appeals the Commissioner of Social
Security's decision denying his claim for Disability
Insurance Benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act,
42 U.S.C.§§401-433. (Dkt. 3). Having considered the
parties' briefs, the administrative record, the arguments
of counsel, and the relevant law, the Court REVERSES and
REMANDS the Commissioner's decision for further
Grange filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) on October 4, 2012, alleging disability
beginning December 31, 2008. (A.R. 160-162). Mr. Grange's
claim was initially denied on February 1, 2013, and upon
reconsideration on April 9, 2013. (A.R. 80, 81). Thereafter,
Mr. Grange timely requested a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on May 15, 2013.
hearing was held on July 29, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada before
Administrative Law Judge, David K. Gatto. (A.R. 37-53). The
ALJ issued a decision finding Mr. Grange not disabled on
November 21, 2014. (A.R. 15-36). In his decision, the ALJ
found that Mr. Grange suffered from the severe impairments of
borderline intellectual functioning/learning disorder,
history of asthma, degenerative joint disease status post
right foot crush injury with surgery, tarsal tunnel syndrome
right foot status post injury and surgeries, and right lower
extremity deformity status post injury. (A.R. 20). At step 3
he found that Mr. Grange did not meet a listing. (A.R. 21).
The ALJ found that Mr. Grange can perform sedentary work with
the additional limitations of: never crawl or climb ladders,
ropes or scaffolds; occasionally able to climb ramps and
stairs, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch; cannot tolerate
exposure to hazards such as dangerous moving machinery and
heights; he can understand, remember, and carry out work
instructions, and exercise the requisite judgment to perform
work tasks that are commensurate with the functions of the
full range of unskilled work. (A.R. 24). With this RFC, the
ALJ found Mr. Grange could not perform any past relevant
work. (A.R. 29). However, he found that there was other work
available that Mr. Grange could perform. (A.R. 30).
Therefore, he found that Mr. Grange was not disabled. (A.R.
Appeals Council denied Mr. Grange's request for review of
the ALJ's decision on January 15, 2016. (A.R. 1-6). The
Appeals Council's denial was the final administrative
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security in this case.
Thus, the ALJ decision stands as the final decision of the
Commissioner. Mr. Grange brought this action to appeal the
Commissioner's decision pursuant to 24 U.S.C. §
405(g), which provides for judicial review of the
defendant's final decision.
Court's review of the Commissioner's decision is
limited to determining whether the findings are supported by
“substantial evidence and whether the correct legal
standards were applied. Lax v. Astrue, 489 F.3d
1080, 1084 (10th Cir. 2007). “Substantial
evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.”
Id. (quotation omitted). The Court may neither
reweigh the evidence, nor substitute its judgment for the
to the applicable standard of review, the Court has
considered the Administrative Record, relevant legal
authority, and the parties' briefs and oral arguments.
Based thereon, the court now finds as follows.
Grange raises two issues on appeal: 1) whether the ALJ erred
by failing to properly evaluate the medical opinion evidence;
and 2) whether the ALJ erred in his evaluation of Mr.
Grange's residual functional capacity assessment. For
reasons set forth below, the Court remands the ALJ's
decision for further analysis regarding Mr. Grange's
residual functional capacity assessment only.
The ALJ Did Not Err In His Evaluation of the Medical Opinion
Grange challenges the ALJ's evaluation of the opinions of
Dr. Kelly Reber (Dkt. 17 at 8-13). Upon review, the court
disagrees and finds no error. For the reasons set forth in
the Commissioner's brief and on the record at oral
argument, the court finds substantial evidence to support the
ALJ's findings and the decision not to afford weight to
Dr. Reber's opinion.
The ALJ Erred by Failing to Explain How the RFC Accounts for
Mr. Grange's Mental Limitations ...