United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
C. IRICK, UNITES STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Allen Owens, Sr. (Claimant) appeals the Commissioner of
Social Security's final decision denying his application
for disability benefits. Doc. 1. Claimant raises a number of
arguments challenging the Commissioner's final decision,
and, based on those arguments, requests that the matter be
reversed and remanded for further proceedings. Doc. 14 at
15-17, 21-26, 30-32, 35. The Commissioner argues that the
ALJ's final decision is supported by substantial evidence
and should be affirmed. Id. at 35. The Court finds
that the Commissioner's final decision is due to be
REVERSED and REMANDED for
the reasons discussed below.
filed an application for a period of disability and
disability insurance benefits in June 2010, alleging that he
became disabled on May 29, 2009. R. 59. An ALJ entered a
decision denying that application in October 2011, and the
Appeals Council denied review in October 2012. R. 59-67,
71-73. Claimant did not appeal this denial to federal court.
filed the operative application for a period of disability
and disability insurance benefits (DIB) in December 2012,
again alleging that he became disabled on May 29, 2009.
R.178-82. Claimant subsequently amended his alleged onset
date to October 20, 2011. R. 217. Claimant's application
was denied on initial review, and on reconsideration. The
matter then proceeded before an ALJ. The ALJ held a hearing
on February 11, 2015, at which Claimant and his
representative appeared. R. 34-55. The ALJ entered her
decision on March 25, 2015, and the Appeals Council denied
review on August 10, 2016. R. 1-4, 24-31. This appeal
THE ALJ'S DECISION.
found that Claimant suffered from the following severe
impairments through his date last insured: disorders of the
spine; and obesity. R. 26. The ALJ also found that Claimant
suffered from the following non-severe impairments through
his date last insured: bowel issues; and fibromyalgia. R.
26-27. The ALJ, however, determined that none of the
foregoing impairments, individually or in combination, met or
medically equaled any listed impairment. R. 27.
found that Claimant had the residual functional capacity
(RFC) to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §
404.1567(b) through the date last insured, with the
following specific limitations:
[N]o more than occasional climbing of ramps and stairs,
balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, and crawling. The
claimant could never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds and
needs to avoid even moderate exposure to hazards, machinery,
R. 27. The ALJ, in light of this RFC, found that Claimant was
able to perform his past relevant work as a retail store
manager. R. 30-31. Thus, the ALJ concluded that Claimant was
not disabled between the alleged onset date, October 20,
2011, and his date last insured, March 31, 2014. R. 31.
STANDARD OF REVIEW.
scope of the Court's review is limited to determining
whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards,
and whether the Commissioner's findings of fact are
supported by substantial evidence. Winschel v. Comm'r
of Soc. Sec., 631 F.3d 1176, 1178 (11th Cir. 2011). The
Commissioner's findings of fact are conclusive if they
are supported by substantial evidence, 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), which is defined as “more than a scintilla and
is such relevant evidence as a reasonable person would accept
as adequate to support a conclusion.” Lewis v.
Callahan, 125 F.3d 1436, 1440 (11th Cir. 1997). The
Court must view the evidence as a whole, taking into account
evidence favorable as well as unfavorable to the
Commissioner's decision, when determining whether the
decision is supported by substantial evidence. Foote v.
Chater, 67 F.3d 1553, 1560 (11th Cir. 1995). The Court
may not reweigh evidence or substitute its judgment for that
of the Commissioner, and, even if the evidence preponderates
against the Commissioner's decision, the reviewing court
must affirm it if the decision is supported by substantial
evidence. Bloodsworth v. Heckler, 703 F.2d 1233,
1239 (11th Cir. 1983).
raises three assignments of error: 1) the ALJ failed to
consider Claimant's diagnoses of myofascial pain syndrome
and complex regional pain syndrome; 2) the ALJ failed to
include or account for limitations caused by Claimant's
diarrhea and constipation; and 3) the ALJ erred by assigning
little weight to the opinion of Claimant's treating
physician, Dr. Theodore Brooks. Doc. 14 at 15-17, 21-26,
30-32. The Court ...