United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER 
C. RICHARDSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
THIS CAUSE is before the Court on
Plaintiff's appeal of an administrative decision denying
his application for a period of disability and disability
insurance benefits (“DIB”). Plaintiff claims he
became disabled on February 12, 2011. (Tr. 21.)
Plaintiff's claims were denied initially and on
reconsideration. The administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) held a hearing on February 12, 2015 (Tr.
39-61), and subsequently issued a decision on April 2, 2015,
finding that the Plaintiff was not disabled (Tr. 21-33).
is appealing the Commissioner's decision that he was not
disabled from February 12, 2011 through the date of the
ALJ's decision. Plaintiff has exhausted his available
administrative remedies and the case is properly brought
before the Court. The Court has reviewed the record, the
briefs, and the applicable law. For the reasons stated
herein, the Commissioner's decision is REVERSED
scope of this Court's review is limited to determining
whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards,
McRoberts v. Bowen, 841 F.2d 1077, 1080 (11th Cir.
1988), and whether the Commissioner's findings are
supported by substantial evidence, Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 390 (1971). “Substantial
evidence is more than a scintilla and is such relevant
evidence as a reasonable person would accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.” Crawford v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 363 F.3d 1155, 1158 (11th Cir. 2004). 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 v. Sullivan, 937 F.2d 580, 584 (11th Cir.
1991); Barnes v. Sullivan, 932 F.2d 1356, 1358 (11th
Cir. 1991). The district court must view the evidence as a
whole, taking into account evidence favorable as well as
unfavorable to the decision. Foote v. Chater, 67
F.3d 1553, 1560 (11th Cir. 1995); accord Lowery v.
Sullivan, 979 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1992)(stating the
court must scrutinize the entire record to determine the
reasonableness of the Commissioner's findings).
argues three points on appeal. First, Plaintiff argues that
the ALJ improperly failed to analyze the impact of obesity on
his hip impairment. Plaintiff also argues the ALJ erred by
concluding that he had no ongoing issues in his left hip
after hip replacement surgery in February of 2014. Second,
Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred in rejecting the opinions
of the evaluating physician Dr. Choisser. Finally, Plaintiff
argues that the ALJ failed to adequately explain why he
rejected the opinions of the state agency reviewing
physician. The Commissioner argues that the ALJ sufficiently
considered Plaintiff's obesity and properly evaluated the
record medical opinions.
The ALJ's Decision
found that Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
lumbar degenerative disc disease and bilateral hip
osteoarthritis status post total left hip arthroplasty. (Tr.
23.) The ALJ then found that Plaintiff did not have any
impairment or combination of impairments that meets or
medically equals the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
(Tr. 24.) At step four,  the ALJ found, in relevant part, that
Plaintiff had the residual functioning capacity
perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except
that he needs a sit/stand option every 30 minutes and he
requires the use of a handheld assistive device to reach the
workstation, but not while working at the workstation. He is
limited to no more than frequent handling and fingering of
the right hand. He needs to avoid unprotected heights.
(Id.) The ALJ then determined that while Plaintiff
was unable to perform his past relevant work, there were jobs
that existed in significant numbers in the national economy
that he could perform. (Tr. 31.) As such, the ALJ found that
the Plaintiff was not disabled during the relevant period.
argues the ALJ erred by failing to consider his obesity in
combination with his other severe impairments at step four of
the disability analysis. The undersigned agrees.
Social Security Administration has issued special guidance
for consideration of obesity. See SSR 02-01p, 2002
WL 3486281 (Sept. 12, 2002). The ruling advises that the
combined effects of obesity with other impairments may be
greater than the effects of each impairment separately, and
that obesity can affect both physical and mental health.
Id. at *1, *3. The Social Security Administration
“will not make any assumptions about the severity or
functional effects of obesity combined ...