United States District Court, D. Utah, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER
B. Pead United States Magistrate Judge.
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), Plaintiff Linda Holden
(“Plaintiff” or “Ms. Holden”) seeks
review of the Acting Commissioner of Social Security's
(the “Commissioner”) denial of her claim for
disability insurance benefits (DIB) and supplement security
income (SSI) under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security
Act (the “Act”). (ECF No. 3.) Ms. Holden
protectively filed applications for DIB and SSI benefits on
June 24, 2014, alleging disability beginning on April 1,
2009. (A.R. 200-203, A.R. 204-212.) Her claims were denied
initially, upon reconsideration and in an April 25, 2017,
opinion issued by Administrative Law Judge Gary Vanderhoof
(the “ALJ”). (A.R. 14-31, A.R. 72-73, A.R.
96-97.) The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review (A.R. 1-6), making the ALJ's ruling the final
decision for purposes of judicial review. See 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.981, 422.210(a). Ms. Holden's
appeal to this court followed. Oral argument was held on
December 18, 2018. (ECF No. 26.)
consideration of the parties' briefs, oral argument, the
administrative record and relevant legal authorities, for the
reasons set forth herein, the court reverses and remands this
matter to the ALJ for further proceedings consistent with
was born in 1967, completed one year of college, and worked
as an office manager and grocery clerk. (A.R. 227, 234, A.R.
267-75.) She alleges she became too disabled to work full
time in April of 2009 due to coronary artery disease, angina,
headaches, hypertension, nose bleeds and fibromyalgia. (A.R.
222, 226.) The record contains multiple records showing Ms.
Holden had coronary artery disease, previous cardiac events
requiring stents and follow-up care, and received primary
care from Shivwits Clinic between April 2008 and November
2014. (A.R. 319-52, A.R. 395-421, A.R. 429-521, A.R. 585-697,
relevant here, Plaintiff also received care from treating
physician Claude Warner, M.D., (“Dr. Warner”). In
May 2014, Dr. Warner diagnosed Ms. Holden with fibromyalgia,
along with other impairments and conditions. (A.R. 545-577,
A.R. 733-742.) In January 2017, Dr. Warner provided a
“Fibromyalgia Treating Physician Data Sheet”
(“Assessment”) opining that Plaintiff could
stand/walk for no more than 20 minutes at a time for up to 90
minutes of the workday, sit for 3-4 hours of the workday,
lift no more than 10 pounds, had temperature restrictions and
would have difficulty sustaining full time work. (A.R.
state agency physicians reviewed Plaintiff's medical
record in September 2014 and February 2015, and opined that
Plaintiff's hypertensive vascular disease and anxiety
disorder were severe impairments. (A.R. 78-79, A.R. 105-107.)
The state agency physicians acknowledged Ms. Holden's
fibromyalgia, but did not find it a severe impairment. (A.R.
78-79, A.R. 105-107.)
April 25, 2017 decision, the ALJ followed the familiar
five-step sequential evaluation for assessing disability.
See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4). At Step 2, the
ALJ found that Plaintiff had the severe impairments of
anxiety disorder, hypertension, and coronary artery disease.
At Step 3, the ALJ determined that Ms. Holden did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled a listing. (A.R. 19-21); see 20
C.F.R., pt. 404, subpt. P, app. 1.
4, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the Residual Functional
Capacity (“RFC”) to perform light
with the following limitations: occasionally perform postural
activities; stand for 2 to 3 hours total in an 8-hour
workday; preclusion from working on ladders, ropes,
scaffolds, unprotected heights, or dangerous moving
machinery; simple, non-detailed and non-complex work;
decision-making with occasional work changes; occasional
interactions with co-workers and supervisors but not in
enjoined projects; no work requiring a high production quota
or fast-paced activity like an assembly line, and limitation
to unskilled work that is repetitive in nature with simple,
routine tasks and very few variables. (A.R. 21.) Regarding
Plaintiff's fibromyalgia, the ALJ found that it was
“not a medically determinable impairment because
neither of the two sets of criteria for diagnosing
fibromyalgia described in section II.A and II.B of SSR 12-2p
is met.” (A.R. 27). Alternatively, the ALJ concluded
that Plaintiff's fibromyalgia was “stable.”
on vocational expert testimony, the ALJ found that Plaintiff
could not perform her past relevant work, but could perform
other unskilled jobs available in the national economy. (A.R.
28-30.) Representative occupations identified included
addresser, document preparation clerk and systems
surveillance monitor. (A.R. 29.)
result, under the five-step disability framework, the ALJ
concluded that Ms. Holden was “not disabled.”