United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division
JOHN R. PULICE, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY Defendant
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 
R. LAMMENS United States Magistrate Judge
appeals the administrative decision denying his application
for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB"). Upon a
review of the record, the memoranda, and the applicable law,
I submit that the Commissioner's decision should be
October 21, 2012, Plaintiff filed an application for DIB
benefits, alleging disability beginning September 9, 2010.
The claim was denied initially, and upon reconsideration. At
plaintiffs request, a hearing was held on August 18, 2014.
(Tr.39-66). On November 20, 2014, 2014, the Administrative
Law Judge (ALJ) issued a notice of unfavorable decision,
finding Plaintiff not disabled. (Tr. 18-34). Plaintiffs
request for review was denied by the Appeals Council (Tr.
1-4), and Plaintiff initiated this action on June 14, 2016.
(Doc. 1). Plaintiff has exhausted his administrative
remedies, and the final decision of the Commissioner is ripe
for review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
on a review of the record, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had
the following severe impairments: status post myocardial
infarction, anxiety, and depression. (Tr. 20).
found that the Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity
to perform less than the full range of light work. (Tr. 24).
The ALJ found that Plaintiff is limited to no more than
occasional stooping, kneeling, crouching, crawling and
climbing, but never climbing ladders, ropes and scaffolds.
Avoid constant pushing/pulling with his upper extremities,
overhead lifting, work at heights, work with dangerous
machinery, concentrated exposure to temperature extremes,
concentrated exposure to dust, fumes, odors, gases and other
pulmonary irritants, as well as constant and direct contact
with vibration. Finally, he is limited to performing simple,
1-5 step tasks that be learned with 30 days' training.
upon the RFC, the ALJ found that there are jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff
can perform, such as cashier II, advertising material
distributor, and ticket seller. (Tr. 33). The ALJ's
finding includes his consideration of Plaintiff s limitations
that erode the light unskilled occupational base, and the
vocational expert's testimony regarding what functions
Plaintiff could perform in light of his limitations. (Tr.
33). Accordingly, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff is not
Standard of Review
claimant is entitled to disability benefits when he or she is
unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by
reason of any medically determinable physical or mental
impairment which can be expected to either result in death or
last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.
42 U.S.C. §§416(i)(1), 423(d)(1)(A); 20 C.F.R.
Commissioner has established a five-step sequential analysis
for evaluating a claim of disability, which is by now
well-known and otherwise set forth in the ALJ's decision.
See 20 CFR §§ 404.1520(a), 416.920(a);
see also Doughty v. Apfel, 245 F.3d 1274, 1278 (11th
Cir. 2001). The claimant, of course, bears the burden of
persuasion through step four and, at step five, the burden
shifts to the Commissioner. Bowen v. Yuckert, 482
U.S. 137, 146 n. 5 (1987).
scope of this Court's review is limited to a
determination of whether the ALJ applied the correct legal
standards and whether the findings are supported by
substantial evidence. McRoberts v. Bowen, 841 F.2d
1077, 1080 (11th Cir. 1988)(citing Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 390 (1971)). Indeed, the
Commissioner's findings of fact are conclusive if
supported by substantial evidence. 42 U.S.C. §405(g).
Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla - i.e., the
evidence must do more than merely create a suspicion of the
existence of a fact, and must include such relevant evidence
as a reasonable person would accept as adequate to support
the conclusion. Foote v. Chater, 67 F.3d 1553, 1560
(11th Cir. 1995) (citing Walden v. Schweiker, 672
F.2d 835, 838 (11th Cir. 1982) and Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)); accord Edwards
v. Sullivan, 937 F.2d 580, 584 n.3 (11th Cir. 1991).
Where the Commissioner's decision is supported by
substantial evidence, the District Court will affirm, even if
the reviewer would have reached a contrary result as finder
of fact, and even if the reviewer finds that the evidence
preponderates against the Commissioner's decision.
Edwards, 937 F.2d at 584 n.3; Barnes v.
Sullivan, 932 F.2d 1356, 1358 (11th Cir. 1991). This is
clearly a deferential standard.
appeal, Plaintiff argues that the ALJ failed to properly
evaluate the opinions of two treating physicians - Carols G.
Govantes, M.D. and Parmanand Gurnani, M.D. Plaintiff simply
contends - without any discussion - that the ALJ failed to
comply with the requirements of 20 CFR § 404.1527(d)(2),
when she decided not to give controlling weight to the
treating physicians' opinions that Plaintiff was
incapable of full time gainful employment. For the reasons
discussed below, I submit that the ALJ properly considered
these opinions and articulated reasons supported by
substantial evidence for discrediting them.
must state with particularity the weight given to different
medical opinions, including non-examining state agency
physicians, and the reasons therefor. Winschel v
Comm 'r of Social Sec,631 F.3d 1176, 1179 (11th
Cir. 2011). The opinions of treating physicians are entitled
to substantial or considerable weight unless "good
cause" is shown to the contrary. Crawford v.
Commissioner of Social Security,363 F.3d 1155, 1159
(11th Cir. 2004) (citing Lewis v.
Callahan,125 F.3d 1436, 1440 (11th Cir.1997)). Good
cause exists "when the: (1) treating physician's
opinion was not bolstered by the evidence; (2) evidence
supported a contrary finding; or (3) treating physician's
opinion was conclusory or inconsistent with the doctor's
own medical records." Phillips v. Barnhart, 357
F.3d 1232, 1241 (11th Cir. 2004). With good cause,
an ALJ may disregard a treating physician's opinion, but
he "must clearly articulate [the] reasons" for
doing so. Id. at ...