United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
C. IRICK UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Owens (Claimant) appeals the Commissioner of Social
Security's final decision denying her applications 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. 19 at
9-11, 17-18, 19-20, 22-23, 27. The Commissioner argues that
the ALJ's final decision is supported by substantial
evidence and should be affirmed. Id. at 27. The
Court finds that the Commissioner's final decision is due
to be AFFIRMED for the reasons discussed
case stems from Claimant's applications for disability
insurance benefits and supplemental security income, in which
she alleged a disability onset date of May 1, 2010. R.
177-84. Claimant's applications were denied on initial
review, and on reconsideration. The matter then proceeded
before an ALJ. The ALJ held a hearing on April 14, 2015, at
which Claimant and her representative appeared. R. 39-64. The
ALJ entered her decision on June 26, 2015, and the Appeals
Council denied review on October 20, 2016. R. 1-3, 22-32.
This appeal followed.
THE ALJ'S DECISION.
found that Claimant suffered from the following severe
impairments: degenerative disc disease and irritable bowel
syndrome. R. 24. The ALJ also found that Claimant suffered
from a non-severe impairment of peptic ulcer disease. R.
24-25. The ALJ, however, determined that none of the
foregoing impairments, individually or in combination, met or
medically equaled any listed impairment. R. 25-26.
next found that Claimant had the residual functional capacity
(RFC) to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1567(b), 416.967(b),  with the
following specific limitations:
[Claimant has] the ability to lift and carry 20 pounds
frequently and 10 pounds occasionally and to sit for 6 hours
and stand or walk for 6 hours in an 8-hour workday. She has
unlimited ability to push/pull within the weight limits
described. She is able to frequently climb ramps and stairs
and occasionally climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. She has
unlimited ability to balance, kneel and crouch and she is
able to occasionally stoop and crawl. She has no limitations
of the upper extremities. She is able to see, hear, and
speak. The claimant needs to avoid exposure to extreme cold
R. 26. The ALJ, in light of this RFC, found that Claimant was
able to perform her past relevant work as a telephone
solicitor. R. 31. Thus, the ALJ concluded that Claimant was
not disabled between her alleged disability onset date, May
1, 2010, through the date of the decision, June 26, 2015. R.
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).
essentially raises three assignments of error: 1) the ALJ
erred by finding Claimant's testimony concerning her pain
and limitations not entirely credible; 2) the ALJ failed to
consider and weigh a written statement from Claimant's
supervisor; and 3) the ALJ erred by finding Claimant's
past work as a telephone solicitor constituted past relevant
work. Doc. 19 at 9-11, 17-18, 19-20, 22-23, 27. The Court
will address each assignment of error in turn.
argues that the ALJ erred in relying on Claimant's daily
activities and sparse treatment in finding that her testimony
concerning the intensity, persistence and limiting effects of
her impairments was not entirely credible. Doc. 19 at 10-11,
17-18. The Commissioner argues that the ALJ articulated
specific reasons in support of her credibility determination,
and that those reasons and the ALJ's ultimate
determination that Claimant's testimony concerning the