United States District Court, M.D. Florida
COMVAY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cause is before the Court on Plaintiff Charles Murphy's
(“Plaintiff”) Complaint for review of the final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the
“Commissioner”) denying benefits to Plaintiff.
United States Magistrate Judge has submitted a report
recommending that the decision of the Commissioner be
AFFIRMED. Doc. 17. After an independent de novo
review of the record in this matter, including the Objections
filed by the Charles Murphy (Doc. 18),  the Court agrees
entirely with the findings of fact and conclusions of law in
the Report and Recommendation.
Court briefly sets forth the relevant procedural history. On
July 11, 2012, Plaintiff filed an application for a period of
disability and disability insurance benefits, alleging
disability beginning on January 1, 2009, which he later
amended to July 11, 2012, when he filed for SSI benefits. R.
40, 191-200, 208. After his application was denied initially
and on reconsideration, on November 7, 2014, an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) held a hearing
at Plaintiff's request. R. 37-69. On March 19, 2015, the
ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. R.
on the ALJ's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) assessment and the testimony of the
vocational expert (“VE”), the ALJ found that
Plaintiff could perform other work available in the national
economy. R. 30-31. Plaintiff appealed the ALJ's decision
to the Appeals Council, which denied Plaintiff's request
for review. R. 1-7. Thereafter, on November 14, 2016,
Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this Court. Doc. 1.
Review of Magistrate Judge's Report &
Eleventh Circuit, a district judge may accept, reject or
modify a magistrate judge's report and recommendation
after conducting a careful and complete review of the
findings and recommendations. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1);
Williams v. Wainwright, 681 F.2d 732, 732 (11th Cir.
1982), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1112, 103 S.Ct. 744,
74 L.Ed.2d 964 (1983). A district judge must conduct a de
novo review of the portions of a magistrate judge's
report and recommendation to which a party objects. 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1) (C). The district judge “may accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate.” Id.
This requires that the district judge “give fresh
consideration to those issues to which specific objection has
been made by a party.” Jeffrey S. v. State Bd. of
Educ., 896 F.2d 507, 512 (11th Cir.1990) (citing
H.R.Rep. No. 94-1609, 94th Cong., 2nd Sess., reprinted
in 1976 U.S.Code Cong. & Admin. News 6162, 6163). A
district judge reviews legal conclusions de novo,
even in the absence of an objection. See Cooper-Houston
v. Southern Ry., 37 F.3d 603, 604 (11th Cir.1994).
Social Security Sequential Evaluation Process
ALJ makes a disability determination, the ALJ follows a
five-step evaluation process: (1) whether Plaintiff is
currently performing substantial gainful activity; (2)
whether Plaintiff has a severe impairment; (3) whether the
severe impairment meets or exceeds an impairment in the
listings; (4) whether the Plaintiff can perform his past
relevant work; and (5) whether Plaintiff can perform other
jobs that exist in the national economy. See Wright v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 327 F. App'x 135,
136-37 (11th Cir. 2009) (per curiam) (citations omitted). The
Plaintiff has the burden of proof on the first four steps;
the Commissioner carries the burden on the fifth step.
Id. at 137 (citation omitted).
reviewing the ALJ's findings of fact, the Social Security
Act mandates that “findings of the Secretary as to any
fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be
conclusive.” Foote v. Chater, 67 F.3d 1553,
1560 (11th Cir. 1995) (per curiam) (citation omitted).
Substantial evidence is evidence that is “more than a
scintilla, i.e., evidence that must do more than
create a suspicion of the existence of the fact to be
established, and such relevant evidence as a reasonable
person would accept as adequate to support the
conclusion.” Id. at 1560 (citations omitted).
The Court also reviews de novo the ALJ's
conclusions of law. Ingram v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 496 F.3d 1253, 1260 (11th Cir. 2007). If the ALJ
fails to apply the correct law or provide the Court with
sufficient reasoning for determining that the proper legal
analysis was conducted, then the Court must reverse.
Id. (citation omitted).
objections are limited to the ALJ's findings regarding
Plaintiff's ability to perform a significant number of
relevant jobs in the national economy at Step 5. Doc. 18. He
argues that the ALJ erred in finding he could perform the
jobs identified by the vocational expert despite the
limitation to use of “one hand, ” given his need
to use a cane for ambulation due to vertigo, and the need for
frequent handling potentially using both hands in order to
perform the requirements of the jobs listed by the VE.
Plaintiff's representative asked the VE how the
additional limitation of occasional handling, fingering, and
feeling with the left hand would impact those jobs (R. 66),
and the VE opined the restriction to one hand would not
impact the specified jobs because “they can be done
with one hand.” R. 66. Plaintiff also argues the ...