United States District Court, W.D. Texas, El Paso Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
F. CASTANEDA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
appeals from the decision of the Commissioner of the Social
Security Administration (“Commissioner”), denying
his claims for disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security
Act. Both parties consented to trial on the merits before a
United States Magistrate Judge, and 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 this district. For the reasons set forth below, this Court
orders that the Commissioner's decision be
23, 2015, Plaintiff filed an application for DIB alleging a
disability onset date of March 16, 2015. (R:159).
Plaintiff's application was denied initially on November
12, 2015, and upon reconsideration on February 4, 2016.
(R:90-93, 96-98). On July 12, 2017, a de novo
hearing was held before an administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) (R:35-67), and the ALJ issued an
unfavorable decision on December 21, 2017, denying benefits.
(R:18-29). The Appeals Council subsequently denied
Plaintiff's request for review on August 1, 2018.
presents the following issue for review:
1. Whether the ALJ erred in formulating Plaintiff's
residual functional capacity (“RFC”).
(ECF No. 20).
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).
evidence is more than a scintilla, but 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 substantiality of the evidence,
a court must consider the record as a whole and “must
take into account whatever in the record fairly detracts from
its weight.” Singletary v. Bowen, 798 F.2d
818, 823 (5th Cir. 1986) (quoting Parsons v.
Heckler, 739 F.2d 1334, 1339 (8th Cir. 1984)).
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence, they are conclusive and must be affirmed.
Martinez, 64 F.3d at 173. In applying the
substantial evidence standard, a court must carefully examine
the entire record, but may not reweigh the evidence or try
the issues de novo. Haywood v. Sullivan,
888 F.2d 1463, 1466 (5th Cir. 1989). It may not substitute
its own judgment “even if the evidence preponderates
against the [Commissioner's] decision, ” because
substantial evidence is less than a preponderance.
Harrell v. Bowen, 862 F.2d 471, 475 (5th Cir. 1988).
Conflicts in the evidence are for the Commissioner, and not
the courts, to resolve. Spellman v. Shalala, 1 F.3d
357, 360 (5th Cir. 1993).