United States District Court, W.D. Texas, El Paso Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
F. CASTANEDA, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a civil action seeking judicial review of an administrative
decision. Jurisdiction is predicated upon 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). Plaintiff appeals from the decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
("Commissioner"), denying her claim for disability
insurance benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the
Social Security Act. Both parties having consented to trial
on the merits before a United States Magistrate Judge, the
case was transferred to this Court for trial and entry of
judgment pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Appendix C
to the Local Court Rules of the Western District of Texas.
For the reasons set forth below, the Commissioner's
decision is AFFIRMED.
February 4, 2014, Plaintiff filed her application for DIB,
alleging disability due to impairments that became disabling
on August 1, 2013. (R:200) Plaintiffs alleged onset date was later
determined to be June 1, 2013. (R:94, 216) The application
was denied initially and on reconsideration. (R: 121 -146)
Pursuant to Plaintiff s request, an Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ") held a hearing to review Plaintiffs
application de novo on March 23, 2016, at which both
Plaintiff and a vocational expert (" VE")
testified. (R:91 -120) The ALJ issued her decision on May 19,
2016, denying benefits. (R:55-64) Plaintiffs request for
review was denied by the Appeals Council on July 7, 2017.
presents the following issues for review:
1. Whether the ALJ erred in her evaluation of the treating
2. Whether the ALJ failed to develop the record.
3. Whether the ALJ erred by failing to obtain a medical
advisor's opinion pursuant to SSR 83-20.
4. Whether the ALJ erred by not relying on any
physician's opinion in arriving at her RFC determination.
5. Whether the ALJ's finding that Plaintiff can perform
other work existing in significant numbers in the national
economy is supported by substantial evidence.
Standard of Review
Court's review is limited to a determination of whether
the Commissioner's final decision is supported by
substantial evidence on the record as a whole and whether the
Commissioner applied the proper legal standards in evaluating
the evidence. See Martinez v. Chater,64 F.3d 172,
173 (5th Cir. 1995); Greenspan v. Shalala, 38 F.3d
232, 236 (5th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 514 U.S.
1120 (1995). Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla,
but can be less than a preponderance, and is such relevant
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion. Ripley v. Chater,67 F.3d 552,
555 (5th Cir. 1995). A finding of no substantial evidence
will be made only where there is a "conspicuous absence
of credible choices" or "no contrary medical
evidence." Abshire v. Bowen,848 F.2d 638, 640
(5th Cir. 1988) (citing Hames v. Heckler, 707 F.2d
162, 164 (5th Cir. 1983). In reviewing the ...