Watkins v. Berryhill
JUDGMENT entered that this case be REVERSED and REMANDED for further proceedings, for those reasons announced by the Court on the record during the hearing on September 20, 2018. Signed by Magistrate Judge William E. Cassady on 9/21/2018. (eec)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
KALYN A. WATKINS,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,
Civil Action No. 1:17-cv-00471-C
Social Security Claimant/Plaintiff Kalyn A. Watkins brought this action
under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) seeking judicial review of a final decision of
the Defendant Commissioner of Social Security (the “Commissioner”) denying her
applications for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) and supplemental security
The parties consented to the exercise of jurisdiction by the
Magistrate Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), for all proceedings in this Court.
(Doc. 24 (“In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Fed. R. Civ. P.
73, the parties in this case consent to have a United States Magistrate Judge
conduct any and all proceedings in this case, including the trial, order the entry of a
final judgment, and conduct all post-judgment proceedings.”)).
Upon consideration of the briefs of the parties, (Docs. 14 & 20), the
administrative record, (Doc. 13), the arguments that were presented during the
hearing that was held on September 20, 2018, (see Doc. 21), and for those reasons
announced by the Court on the record during the hearing, the decision of the
Commissioner should be reversed, and the case should be remanded for further
At Step Two of the sequential evaluation process, the Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”) found, relevant to this judgment, Claimant/Plaintiff Watkins had
severe impairments that included borderline intellectual functioning and affective
Under SSR 96-8p, when the ALJ evaluates the Claimant/Plaintiff’s
residual functional capacity (“RFC”), the ALJ is required to consider the
Claimant/Plaintiff’s nonexertional capacity and make findings, based on the
relevant evidence in the case record, of whether the Claimant/Plaintiff is able to
understand, carry out, and remember instructions; use judgment in making
work-related decisions; respond appropriately to supervision, co-workers, and work
situations; and deal with changes in a routine work setting.
Claimant/Plaintiff’s RFC, the ALJ found the Claimant/Plaintiff was limited to
simple, routine, repetitive tasks. However, the ALJ failed to specifically discuss the
findings by Donald E. Hinton, Ph D. that Plaintiff was moderately limited in her
ability to respond appropriately to changes in the work setting.
explained that this limitation would require that the demands of her employment
should “mostly be routine.” (Administrative Transcript 102).
agrees with Plaintiff’s counsel that the RFC finding that Plaintiff was limited to
simple, routine, repetitive tasks is insufficient under SSR 96-8p because there was
no discussion or analysis of how the Plaintiff would deal with ordinary changes in
the workplace given her mental impairments.
Therefore, it is hereby ORDERED this case is REVERSED and
REMANDED for further proceedings.1
DONE and ORDERED this the 21st day of September 2018.
s/WILLIAM E. CASSADY
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Any appeal taken from the judgment herein shall be made to the Eleventh Circuit Court of
Appeals. (See Doc. 25 (“An appeal from a judgment entered by a Magistrate Judge shall be
taken directly to the United States Court of Appeals for this judicial circuit in the same
manner as an appeal from any other judgment of this district court.”)).
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