SMITH v. ASTRUE
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 3/30/13. (lcckk2)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Civil Action No. 09-2193 (CKK)
MICHAEL JAMES ASTRUE,
Commissioner of Social Security,
(March 30, 2013)
Plaintiff Sharon Smith brings this action seeking review of the final administrative
decision by Defendant Michael James Astrue, in his official capacity as Commissioner of Social
Security, denying the Plaintiff’s claim for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental
Security Income Benefits.
Presently before the Court are the Plaintiff’s  Motion for
Judgment of Reversal, and the Defendant’s  Motion for Judgment of Affirmance. Upon
consideration of the pleadings, the administrative record, and the relevant legal authorities, the
Court finds the administrative decision is not procedurally deficient and is supported by
Accordingly, for the reasons stated below, the Plaintiff’s motion is
DENIED and the Defendant’s motion is GRANTED.
The Plaintiff is a thirty seven year-old female resident of Washington, D.C. A.R. 42.
The Plaintiff was placed in special education classes and completed the ninth grade, but dropped
out of high school in the tenth grade. A.R. 26-27. The Plaintiff entered the Job Corps and
received a certificate in food service. Id. at 220.
Her relevant work experience includes
employment as a housekeeper, security officer, food service provider, and sales
associate/cashier. A.R. 132; id. at 28-30. On July 11 and July 18, 2006, the Plaintiff filed
applications for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income Benefits
pursuant to Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act respectively, citing her asthma and
hyperthyroidism. Id. at 42, 43. To qualify for disability insurance benefits and supplemental
security income, a claimant must demonstrate a disability, which is defined by the Act as an
“inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be
expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 416(i)(1); id.
§ 1382c(a)(3)(A). In addition, a claimant seeking disability or supplemental security income
benefits must have a severe impairment that makes her unable to perform past relevant work or
any other substantial gainful work that exists in the national economy. Id. § 423(d)(2)(A); 20
C.F.R. § 404.1505(a). Substantial gainful work activity is work activity that involves doing
significant physical or mental activities and is the kind of work that is usually done for pay or
profit. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1572(a)-(b).
The Plaintiff’s applications were initially denied. Id. at 42-43, 47-49. The Plaintiff
moved for reconsideration, indicating cognitive and mood disorders as the basis for her claim.
Id. at 45, 46. The Plaintiff’s applications were once again denied upon reconsideration. Id. At
the Plaintiff’s request, an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) held a hearing on the Plaintiff’s
applications, during which the Plaintiff, represented by counsel, and a Vocational Expert
testified. A.R. 57 (Request for Hearing); id. at 21-41 (Hearing Tr.).1
In addition to this
Following the hearing, the ALJ left the record open for two weeks to allow Plaintiff
time to submit additional evidence, namely her educational records. A.R. 7. Plaintiff’s counsel
testimony, the ALJ considered the opinions submitted by three experts: Dr. Robert Barnes, Dr.
Barry Hurwitz, and Dr. Vincent Greenwood. Dr. Barnes examined the Plaintiff in March 2007.
A.R. 216. Dr. Barnes noted that the Plaintiff’s medical records indicated no history of anxiety,
bipolar disorder, depression, suicidal ideation, or schizophrenia. Id. The Plaintiff received a full
scale IQ score of 64, indicating mild mental retardation. Id. at 217. However, Dr. Barnes
explained that “because of the verbal remarks during scoring and many of her answers following
a period of processing,” in his opinion the Plaintiff “was misrepresenting answers.” A.R. 219;
id. (“We cannot know if these scores are trustworthy under the spector of malingering.”). The
Plaintiff disclosed “certain indications of a thought disorder,” including confusion, difficulty
concentrating, and paranoia, but Dr. Barnes concluded the symptoms were insufficient to
diagnosis a thought disorder. Id. at 222. The Plaintiff stated she had symptoms of bipolar
disorder, but admitted she had never been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Id. at 219-220. Dr.
Barnes diagnosed the Plaintiff with mild mental retardation but declined to diagnose depression
because it may have been a side effect of her medications. Id. at 222.
Dr. Barry Hurwitz, the state agency expert, reviewed Dr. Barnes’ report, noting that “Dr.
Barnes submitted a report with opinions that appear to be inconsistent.” A.R. 228. Dr. Hurwitz
explained that Dr. Barnes “indicated that there was evidence to suggest that the formal test
results could not be trusted,” yet went on to diagnose mental retardation “without providing
sufficient alternative clinical data.” Id. Moreover, Dr. Barnes “present[ed] no rationale for
differentiating between what he opines are reliable statements made by the Claimant and those
that are fabrications or exaggerations.” Id. Dr. Hurwitz noted that “[o]ther comments by Dr.
indicated the records had been lost by the Washington, D.C., school system, therefore no further
evidence was received after the hearing. Id.; accord A.R. 154.
Barnes indicate that the Claimant is more functionally competent than reflected in some aspects
of her clinical presentation.” Id. Dr. Hurwitz opined “there is sufficient information to conclude
the Claimant’s credibility is questionable,” but “[n]evertheless, she suffers a mental impairment,”
in the form of a cognitive disorder (not otherwise specified), mood disorder (not otherwise
specified), and personality disorder (not otherwise specified). Id. at 229. Dr. Barnes also
completed a mental residual functional capacity analysis, discussed in detail infra.
Dr. Vincent Greenwood examined the Plaintiff in May 2007. A.R. 251. Dr. Greenwood
noted that there was “a complaining quality” to many of the Plaintiff’s comments, and it was
difficult “to get a clear and coherent history.”
Id. at 253.
The Plaintiff “was not fully
collaborative during the evaluation,” and “did not put forth much of an effort.” Id. at 254. The
Plaintiff’s “thought processes were concrete,” but she disclosed feelings of paranoia and seemed
“very sensitive to the possibility of being criticized.” Id. Dr. Greenwood indicated her mood
was depressed, and “[i]nsight and judgment are markedly below average.”
administering various psychological tests and inventories, Dr. Greenwood noted that the
Plaintiff’s “current overall level of functioning is in the mild mental retardation range,” but that
the Plaintiff’s lack of motivation and effort “clearly compromised her performance.” Id. at 255.
Dr. Greenwood also opined that the Plaintiff’s depressive symptomology contributed “to a poor
result.” Id. Ultimately Dr. Greenwood found that the Plaintiff suffers from bipolar disorder,
highlighting that the Plaintiff described abnormally high and low mood swings, racing thoughts,
impulsiveness, and flight of ideas. Id. at 256. At the time of her evaluation, the Plaintiff
described symptoms of depression, including loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, feelings of
guilt and self-criticism, and intense feelings of sadness. Id. In addition to bipolar disorder and
mild mental retardation, Dr. Greenwood found the Plaintiff had a moderate level of depressive
symptoms and a mild to moderate level of anxiety symptoms. Id. at 255. Dr. Greenwood
strongly encouraged the Plaintiff to begin psychiatric treatment. Id. at 257.
Administrative Law Judge’s Decision
In making a disability determination, the ALJ is required to use a five-step sequential
analysis examining (1) the claimant’s recent work activity, (2) the severity and duration of the
claimant’s impairments, (3) whether the claimant’s impairments are medically equivalent to
those contained in the Listing of Impairments promulgated by the Social Security
Administration, (4) the claimant’s residual functional capacity and ability to perform past work,
and (5) the claimant’s ability to perform jobs reasonably available in the national economy. 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4), 416.920(a)(4); see also Blackmon v. Astrue, 719 F. Supp. 2d 80, 82-83
(D.D.C. 2010). The ALJ is to consider (1) medical data and findings, (2) expert medical
opinions, (3) subjective complaints, and (4) the plaintiff’s age, education, and work history.
Blackmon, 719 F. Supp. 2d at 88-89. The claimant bears the burden of proof with respect to the
first four steps of the analysis, but at step five the burden shifts to the Social Security
Administration to demonstrate that the claimant is able to perform “other work” based on her
residual functional capacity, age, education, and past work experience. Butler v. Barnhart, 353
F.3d 992, 997 (D.C. Cir. 2004).
At the first step in the analysis, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant is engaged
in “substantial gainful activity”; if so, the claim must be denied. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(i).
The ALJ determined the Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 1,
2005. A.R. 10. The Plaintiff testified that she worked as a retail sales associate for several
months in 2005, but the ALJ concluded that “a review of the earnings record reveals that this
work activity did not rise to the level of substantial gainful activity” under the applicable
regulations. Id. Having found the Plaintiff was not engaged in substantial gainful activity, the
ALJ proceeded to step two.
In step two, the ALJ must consider the “medical severity” of the claimant’s impairments.
20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(ii). If the claimant does not have a severe, medically determinable
physical or mental impairment that “is expected to result in death,” or “[has] lasted or [is]
expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months,” the ALJ will find the claimant is
not disabled. Id. (cross-referencing 20 C.F.R. § 404.1509). In this case, the ALJ found the
Plaintiff had no severe physical impairments, and only one severe mental impairment, mild
The ALJ declined to find the Plaintiff also suffered from
depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or an organic mental disorder, noting the Plaintiff has never
sought mental health treatment, the experts suspected the Plaintiff of malingering, and certain
expert opinions were inconsistent with the record as a whole. Id. at 10-13. However, because
the ALJ found at least one severe impairment, the ALJ turned to the third step.
Step three of this analysis requires the ALJ to compare the claimant’s impairments to the
Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(iii). If the
claimant’s impairments meet or are medically equal to a listed impairment, the ALJ will find the
claimant is disabled. Id. The ALJ compared the Plaintiff’s impairment to Listings 12.05(C) and
(D). Listing 12.05(C) requires “[a] valid verbal, performance, or full scale IQ of 60 through 70
and a physical or other mental impairment imposing an additional and significant work-related
limitation of function.” Listing 12.05(D) requires a valid verbal, performance, or full scale IQ of
60 through 70, resulting in at least two of the following: (1) “[m]arked restriction of activities of
daily living”; (2) “[m]arked difficulties in maintaining social functioning”; (3) “[m]arked
difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace”; or (4) “[r]epeated episodes of
decompensation, each of extended duration.” Comparing the Plaintiff’s impairment to these
listings, the ALJ noted that the Plaintiff’s verbal, performance, and full scale IQs fell between 60
and 70, but concluded the Plaintiff’s limitations were not severe enough to equate to either
listing. A.R. 11. Since the Plaintiff’s impairment did not meet or equal a listed impairment, the
ALJ proceeded to the fourth step of the disability determination.
In step four, the ALJ must consider the claimant’s “residual function capacity” and past
relevant work. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(iv). If the claimant can still do their past relevant
work, the ALJ will find the claimant is not disabled. Id. With respect to the Plaintiff, the ALJ
concluded that the Plaintiff had no exertional limitations, but “is markedly limited in her ability
to understand, remember, and carry out detailed instructions.” A.R. 11. Furthermore, the ALJ
found the Plaintiff “is moderately limited in maintaining attention and concentration for extended
periods of time, in interacting appropriately with the general public, in accepting instructions and
responding appropriately to criticism from supervisors, and in responding appropriately to
changes in the work setting.” Id.
After asking the Vocational Expert to classify the Plaintiff’s past relevant work, the ALJ
posed a hypothetical inquiring whether a person with the Plaintiff’s limitations, approximately
the Plaintiff’s age, with limited special education and the Plaintiff’s work experience, could
perform any of the Plaintiff’s past relevant work. A.R. 37. The Vocational Expert opined that
the Plaintiff could still work as a housekeeper and child care provider/assistant. Id. at 37-38.
Plaintiff’s counsel asked the expert if his opinion would change if the limitation in concentration
and persistence was increased to a marked limitation, and the expert replied that it “would
preclude the performance of any and all jobs.” Id. at 39-40. Counsel did not pose any other
hypotheticals to the expert. Relying on the Vocational Expert’s testimony, the ALJ held that
“comparing the claimant’s residual functional capacity with the physical and mental demands of
her past relevant work as a housekeeper and a child care assistant/provider,” the Plaintiff “is able
to perform this work as generally performed.” A.R. 14.
Finally, step five requires the ALJ to “determine whether there is any other gainful work
in the national economy that the claimant could perform notwithstanding [her] disability.”
Blackmon, 719 F. Supp. 2d at 83; see 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(v). Because the ALJ found the
Plaintiff could still perform her past relevant work, the ALJ did not reach step five in this case.
The Plaintiff sought review of the ALJ’s decision by the Appeals Council. A.R. 19-20.
The Appeals Council “found no reason under [its] rules to review the Administrative Law
Judge’s decision,” meaning the ALJ’s decision constitutes the Commissioner’s final decision
regarding the Plaintiff’s claim. A.R. 1.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
“In a disability proceeding, the ALJ ‘has the power and the duty to investigate fully all
matters in issue, and to develop the comprehensive record required for a fair determination of
disability.’” Simms v. Sullivan, 877 F.2d 1047, 1050 (D.C. Cir. 1989) (quoting Diabo v. Sec’y of
Health, Ed. & Welfare, 627 F.2d 278, 281 (D.C. Cir. 1980)). A court will not disturb the
determination of the Commissioner if it is based on substantial evidence in the record and the
correct application of the relevant legal standards. 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c); Butler, 353
F.3d at 999. Substantial evidence means “such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)
(citation omitted). “The test requires more than a scintilla, but can be satisfied by something less
than a preponderance of the evidence.” Butler, 353 F.3d at 999 (citation omitted).
In reviewing an administrative decision, a court may not determine the weight of the
evidence nor substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner if his decision is based on
substantial evidence. Butler, 353 F.3d at 999; Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d 1453, 1456 (4th Cir.
1990). “Because the broad purposes of the Social Security Act require a liberal construction in
favor of disability, the court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the claimant.”
Martin v. Apfel, 118 F. Supp. 2d 9, 13 (D.D.C. 2000). The reviewing court must also determine
whether credible evidence was properly considered. Id. A reviewing court should not be left
guessing as to how the ALJ evaluated probative material, and it is reversible error for an ALJ to
fail in his written decision to explain sufficiently the weight he has given to certain probative
items of evidence. Id.
Severity of the Plaintiff’s Mental Impairments
The Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred in finding depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder,
and organic mental disorder were not among the Plaintiff’s severe impairments.2 Specifically,
the Plaintiff contends that the ALJ did not give proper weight to (1) the diagnosis by Dr.
Greenwood that the Plaintiff has moderate bipolar disorder; and (2) Dr. Hurwitz’s diagnosis of
cognitive, mood, and personality disorders, not otherwise specified. Pl.’s Mot. at 4-5.
The ALJ gave “limited evidentiary weigh to Dr. Greenwood’s consultative assessment”
that the Plaintiff suffered from bipolar disorder because “there is no evidence that the claimant
has received any mental health treatment whatsoever,” his opinion was based “in large part, if
not entirely, on the claimant’s own self report at the time,” and is inconsistent with the record in
The Plaintiff does not challenge the ALJ’s finding that her asthma, dermatitis, and
hyperthyroidism are not severe impairments. See Pl.’s Mot. at 4.
its entirety. A.R 10, 13. The administrative record, including Dr. Greenwood’s report, provides
substantial evidence to support the ALJ’s decision to disregard Dr. Greenwood’s overall
In his report, Dr. Greenwood identified several issues undermining the Plaintiff’s
credibility, including that “[i]t was difficult to get a clear and coherent history from [the
Plaintiff],” “[s]he contradicted herself on a number of occasions,” and she did not seem very
forthcoming. A.R. 253. The Plaintiff “was not fully collaborative during the evaluation,” and
“did not put forth much of an effort.” Id. at 254. Early on in the evaluation she asked why she
had to do the evaluation, and “[t]here was  a complaining quality to many of her comments.”
Id. at 253. Nevertheless, Dr. Greenwood’s bipolar diagnosis is based entirely on the Plaintiff’s
self-reported symptoms. Id. (“Ms. Smith does describe a history that is consistent with the
diagnosis of bipolar disorder.”); id. at 256 (recounting symptoms described by the Plaintiff). Dr.
Barnes’, Dr. Hurwitz’s, and Dr. Greenwood’s observations regarding the Plaintiff’s lack of
credibility constitute substantial evidence supporting the ALJ’s finding that Dr. Greenwood’s
diagnosis—based exclusively on the Plaintiff’s self-report—was not evidence of a medically
determinable mental impairment.
The record also supports the limited weight the ALJ assigned to Dr. Hurwitz’s
assessment. With respect to the organic mental disorders identified by Dr. Hurwitz, the ALJ
found “there is no evidence of any such medically-determinable impairment,” emphasizing that
the Plaintiff never received any mental health treatment and her subjective complaints lack
credibility, A.R. 10, 12, a factor Dr. Hurwitz acknowledged, A.R. 229. Regardless, any error by
the ALJ with respect to Dr. Hurwitz’s opinion regarding the Plaintiff’s mental impairment does
not require reversal in this case because the ALJ ultimately found that the Plaintiff’s mild mental
retardation was severe, and thus proceeded to step three. Blackmon, 719 F. Supp. 2d at 90-91
(citing Carpenter v. Astrue, 537 F.3d 1264 (10th Cir. 2008)). Moreover, the Plaintiff has not
demonstrated any prejudice from the ALJ’s omission of the cognitive, mood, and personality
disorders (identified by Dr. Hurwitz) at step three of the analysis. Dr. Hurwitz ultimately
concluded that the Plaintiff suffered less than substantial limitations in her ability to understand
and remember short instructions, to sustain mental abilities over the course of a normal
workday/week, to interact with supervisors, co-workers and the general public, and to tolerate
normally encountered stress in a work-like setting. A.R. 229. The only substantial limitation
found by Dr. Hurwitz related to the Plaintiff’s ability to remember detailed instructions. Id. The
ALJ specifically credited these determinations in articulating the Plaintiff’s assessed residual
functional capacity. A.R. 13. There is nothing in the record to suggest the ALJ would have
found the Plaintiff’s organic mental disorders “impos[ed] an additional and significant workrelated limitation or function,” or resulted in (1) “marked restriction of activities of daily living”;
(2) “marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning”; or (3) marked difficulties in
maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace,” such that the Plaintiff’s combination of
impairments would satisfy the relevant listings. Accordingly, to the extent the ALJ erred in
evaluating Dr. Hurwitz’s opinion, the error was not prejudicial and does not otherwise require
Determination as to the Plaintiff’s Impairment
As indicated above, the ALJ determined that the Plaintiff’s impairment did not medically
meet or equal Listing 12.05(C) or (D). The Plaintiff challenges this determination on the
grounds that the ALJ failed to consider the evidence proffered by Dr. Hurwitz as to the
Plaintiff’s limitations. To the contrary, the ALJ specifically credited Dr. Hurwitz’s findings in
concluding that “the claimant can sustain a greater capacity than she described at the hearing.”
A.R. 13. To the extent the Plaintiff argues the ALJ erred by failing to consider the Plaintiff’s
bipolar disorder, as explained supra Section III.A., substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s
decision that the Plaintiff’s only severe impairment is mild mental retardation.
Substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s finding that the Plaintiff does not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that meet or are medically equivalent to a listed
impairment. The Plaintiff cares for her two young children, A.R. 25, uses public transportation,
id. at 26, shops for personal and household items, id. at 143, pays her bills, id., performs
household chores, id. at 140, and prepares meals daily, id. at 142. See also A.R. 221 (“[Plaintiff]
reported that she attends to all of her activities of daily living in a satisfactory manner.”). The
ALJ observed that the Plaintiff’s testimony and demeanor during the hearing “were not
suggestive of a person who is experiencing disabling mental limitations.” A.R. 13. Dr. Hurwitz
concluded that the Plaintiff faced only mild restriction of daily living activities, moderate
difficulties in maintaining social functioning, moderate difficulties in maintaining concentration,
persistence, or pace, and no episodes of decompensation, all of which are below the degree of
limitation that satisfies the functional criteria in the relevant listings. A.R. 246. The ALJ’s
finding that the Plaintiff’s impairment did not meet or equal Listing 12.05(C) or (D) is supported
by substantial evidence and therefore shall be upheld.
Assessment of the Plaintiff’s Residual Functional Capacity
In terms of the ALJ’s assessment of the Plaintiff’s residual functional capacity, the
Plaintiff initially charges that the format of the ALJ’s analysis is inadequate because it was not
comprised of “a narrative discussion describing how the evidence supported each conclusion,
citing specific medical facts and nonmedical evidence.” Pl.’s Mot. at 12. This argument is
meritless. Across three pages the ALJ analyzed the Plaintiff’s testimony and the various expert
opinions, referring to specific evidence and findings, and indicating what evidence was or was
not credited. See generally A.R. 11-13. The merits of the ALJ’s conclusion aside, the analysis
of the Plaintiff’s residual functional capacity was sufficiently detailed.
Turning to the merits of the ALJ’s residual functional capacity findings, the Plaintiff
argues that the ALJ erred by failing to consider certain opinions offered by the experts, which the
Court addresses seriatim. First, as set forth supra, Section III.A., the ALJ provided legitimate
bases for giving limited weight to any of Dr. Greenwood’s opinions, thus it was not necessary for
the ALJ to further analyze each statement in Dr. Greenwood’s report. Second, Dr. Barnes
questioned his own observation that the Plaintiff was confused and had difficulty concentrating,
emphasizing that there was insufficient evidence to diagnose a thought disorder, and there was a
suspicion of malingering. A.R. 222-23. Moreover, the ALJ ultimately concluded that the
Plaintiff was moderately limited in maintaining attention and concentrating for extended periods
of time, yet the Plaintiff fails to explain how Dr. Barnes’ observation, if credited, would have
altered this conclusion. Third, the substantial evidence supports the conclusion that the Plaintiff
was not moderately limited in her ability to complete a normal workday/week without
interruptions from psychologically-based symptoms and to perform at a consistent pace without
an unreasonable number and length of rest periods insofar as the Plaintiff was not described as
easily distracted and “no slowing in work pace was noted.” A.R. 229. The record contains
substantial evidence supporting the ALJ’s findings as to the Plaintiff’s assessed residual
Plaintiff’s Capacity to Perform Her Past Relevant Work
Finally, the Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred in finding at step four of the analysis that
the Plaintiff was capable of performing her past work as a housekeeper and child care
assistant/provider. The crux of the Plaintiff’s argument on this step is that the ALJ was required
to make specific findings as to the functional demands of the Plaintiff’s past relevant work. Pl.’s
Mot. at 16-17 (citing Groeper v. Sullivan, 932 F.2d 1234 (8th Cir. 1991)). The Plaintiff fails to
cite any cases demonstrating this Circuit has adopted the standard set forth in Groeper. The ALJ
relied on the Vocational Expert’s testimony to find that the Plaintiff is able to perform her past
relevant work. A.R. 14. The Plaintiff does not take issue with the Vocational Expert’s opinion,
therefore the Court finds that opinion constitutes substantial evidence for the ALJ’s decision at
step four. See Turner v. Astrue, 710 F. Supp. 2d 95, 109 (D.D.C. 2010); Hurd v. Colvin, No.
4:12-228, 2013 WL 1149160, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Mar. 19, 2013) (“Plaintiff's case is distinguishable
from Groeper, however, as here a vocational expert (VE) testified regarding the skill and
exertional requirements of Plaintiff's past work and, based on the ALJ's hypothetical, testified
Plaintiff could perform [her] past work. This constitutes substantial evidence that Plaintiff can
perform past work, and so the Commissioner’s decision must be affirmed.”) (citation omitted).
For the foregoing reasons, the Court finds the ALJ’s decision was not procedurally
deficient and is supported by substantial evidence. There is substantial evidence in the record
that mild mental retardation is the Plaintiff’s sole severe impairment, and that the Plaintiff’s
impairment does not meet or equal the relevant listing of impairments. The ALJ properly
detailed the assessment of the Plaintiff’s residual functional analysis, and properly analyzed
certain opinions offered by the experts. Finally, the ALJ was not required to make specific
findings as to the functional demands of the Plaintiff’s past work, and the Vocational Expert’s
opinion constituted substantial evidence that the Plaintiff can perform her past relevant work.
Finding no basis to reverse the ALJ’s determination, the Plaintiff’s  Motion for Judgment of
Reversal is DENIED, and the Defendant’s  Motion for Judgment of Affirmance is
An appropriate Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?