Ms. Daniell asserts that the ALJ’s RFC determination was flawed because the ALJ did not properly consider the opinions of her treating physicians. We agree.
The ALJ’s RFC determination appears to be based on the opinion of the agency’s non-examining medical consultant and conflicts with the opinions of Ms. Daniell’s treating physicians. When an ALJ considers medical opinions, the opinion of a non-examining physician is generally entitled to the least weight of all and the opinion of a treating physician is generally entitled to the most weight. The ALJ did not follow the sequential analysis for considering treating physician opinions, did not seek to develop the record further before rejecting those opinions, and did not offer any legally sufficient justification for favoring the opinion of the non-examining agency physician over the opinions of the treating physicians. Because of these legal errors, we must reverse and remand for further proceedings.
Ms. Daniell filed an application for disability insurance benefits on December 1, 2004, alleging that she became disabled on October 11, 2004, due to an injury to her left ankle. Because Ms. Daniell had not received treatment for her ankle injury since 2000, Ms. Daniell was examined by a consultative examiner, Dr. John C. Lund, in January 2005. Dr. Lund confirmed that she had suffered an injury to her left ankle. He noted that her ankle was swollen and painful to the touch and her range of motion in that ankle was limited to about five degrees of flexion and extension, but he did not provide an assessment of her functional capacity. In February 2005, Dr. Edward Bocian, a state agency medical consultant, reviewed Ms. Daniell’s medical records and completed a form entitled “Physical Residual Functional Capacity Assessment.” Admin. R. at 93.
Judge(s): Briscoe, Tymkovich, Gorsuch
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
Related Categories: Administrative Law , Civil Procedure
|Circuit Court Judge(s)|
|Plaintiff Lawyer(s)||Plaintiff Law Firm(s)|
|Michael D. Armstrong|
|Francesca Jane MacDowell||Martone Law Firm|
|Defendant Lawyer(s)||Defendant Law Firm(s)|
|Manuel Lucero, Esq.||Office of the United States Attorney|
|Oneil Brown||Social Security Administration|
|Mary Lin||Social Security Administration|