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Vigil v. Colvin

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

September 28, 2015

KENNETH G. VIGIL, Plaintiff - Appellant,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant - Appellee

(D.C. No. 1:13-CV-01896-CBS). (D. Colo.).

For KENNETH G. VIGIL, Plaintiff - Appellant: Michael W. Seckar, Law Office of Michael W. Seckar, Pueblo, CO.

For CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant - Appellee: Douglas Allen Fletcher, Alexess D. Rea, Social Security Administration, Region VIII, Office of the General Counsel, Denver, CO; J. Benedict Garcia, Office of the United States Attorney, District of Colorado, Denver, CO.

Before TYMKOVICH, HOLMES, and McHUGH, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Carolyn B. McHugh, Circuit Judge

ORDER AND JUDGMENT[*]

Kenneth G. Vigil appeals from the denial of his application for disability insurance and supplemental security income benefits. Exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), we affirm.

I.

Vigil filed for benefits alleging disability due to a bad left knee and ankle, anxiety, depression, and pain in his left heel and back. He requested and received a hearing before an administrative law judge (" ALJ" ) at which he was represented by counsel. Vigil and a vocational expert (" VE" ) testified.

The ALJ found that Vigil has severe impairments of degenerative changes of the lumbar spine, status post-left knee anterior cruciate ligament (" ACL" ) repair, obesity, major depressive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.[1] He then determined that Vigil could not perform his past relevant work as a fiberglass maker, spot welder, auto detailer, hog farmer, concrete laborer, or brick maker. The ALJ found that Vigil has the residual functional capacity (" RFC" ) to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(b), except that he can only occasionally bend, squat, and kneel; is unable to climb ropes, ladders, or scaffolds; can occasionally operate foot or leg controls; is unable to perform complex tasks, such that he is limited to jobs with a specific vocational preparation (" SVP" ) of one or two; [2] and he cannot deal with the general public. After considering the VE's testimony, the ALJ determined Vigil could perform other work that existed in substantial numbers in the national economy. Accordingly, the ALJ denied benefits at step five of the five-step sequence for determining disability. See Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d 1048, 1052 (10th Cir. 2009) (summarizing steps). The Appeals Council denied review, and the district court affirmed.

II.

" We review the Commissioner's decision to determine whether the factual findings are supported by substantial evidence and whether the correct legal standards were applied." Mays v. Colvin, 739 F.3d 569, 571 (10th Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks omitted). " In reviewing the ALJ's decision, we neither reweigh the evidence nor substitute our judgment for that of the agency." Newbold v. Colvin, 718 F.3d 1257, 1262 (10th Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks omitted). Vigil asserts two arguments on appeal: (1) the ALJ did not have a valid reason for rejecting the standing and walking restrictions described by his consultative physician, Dr. Summerlin, and (2) the ALJ improperly accounted for his memory and concentration deficits by limiting the skill level of work.

A.

Vigil first argues that the ALJ erred in evaluating the medical source opinion evidence from consultative examiner Dr. Summerlin when he determined Vigil's RFC. An ALJ must " give consideration to all the medical opinions in the record [and] discuss the weight he assigns to such opinions." Keyes-Zachary v. Astrue, 695 F.3d 1156, 1161 (10th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). When assessing a medical opinion, the ALJ must consider the factors listed in 20 C.F.R. ยง 404.1527(c) and give good reasons for the weight ...


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