Sutton v. Social Security Administration Commissioner
FINAL JUDGMENT REVERSING THE DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER AND REMANDING THIS CASE TO THE COMMISSIONER FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION PURSUANT TO SENTENCE FOUR of 42 U.S.C. 405(g). Signed by Honorable Mark E. Ford on May 27, 2016. (hnc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
FORT SMITH DIVISION
LISA J. SUTTON
CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:15-CV-2063-MEF
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner,
Social Security Administration
This cause is before the Court on the Plaintiff’s complaint for judicial review of an
unfavorable final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying
her claim for disability benefits. The parties have consented to entry of final judgment by the
United States Magistrate Judge under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). The Court, having
reviewed the administrative record, the briefs of the parties, the applicable law, and having heard
oral argument, finds as follows, to-wit:
Consistent with the Court’s ruling from the bench following the parties’ oral argument,
the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security is reversed and remanded for further
proceedings pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
The Court finds it was error to give little weight to Dr. Couch’s Medical Source
Statement and to give great weight to the opinions of the non-examining state agency
consultants, Drs. Henderson and Brown, especially since their reports were stale and they did not
have access to Dr. Couch’s Medical Source Statement or Dr. Efird’s report. The Court finds that
the Commissioner’s decision is not supported by substantial evidence and requires reversal and
remand to allow the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to obtain a current Residual Functional
Capacity (RFC) assessment from Dr. Couch or Plaintiff’s current treating physician. The ALJ is
directed to obtain an up-to-date RFC assessment from Dr. Couch or Plaintiff’s current treating
physician. Consideration should be given to how Plaintiff’s mental impairments affect her
ability to work in a competitive environment and around others. Upon such reconsideration, the
ALJ should formulate appropriate hypothetical questions to the Vocational Expert which set
forth all of Plaintiff’s mental impairments.
IT IS SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED on this the 27th day of May, 2016.
/s/ Mark E. Ford
HON. MARK E. FORD
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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