United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
R. SPAULDING UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT:
cause came on for consideration without oral argument on the
Complaint filed by Plaintiff James Patrick Finnerty III
seeking review of the final decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security denying his claim for social security
benefits, Doc. No. 1, the answer and certified copy of the
record before the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”), Doc. Nos. 12, 14, and the parties'
Joint Memorandum,  Doc. No. 16.
2011, Finnerty filed applications for benefits under the
Federal Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance Programs
(“OASDI”), 42 U.S.C. § 401, et
seq., and under the Supplemental Security Income for the
Aged, Blind and Disabled Program (“SSI”), 42
U.S.C. § 1381, et seq. R. 167, 171. He
initially alleged that he became disabled on April 5, 1998,
see id., but he later amended the alleged disability
onset date to July 6, 1998, see R. 39-40, 186.
his applications were denied at all levels of administrative
review, Finnerty filed a complaint in this Court. On December
28, 2015, the Court reversed the final decision of the
Commissioner and remanded the case for further proceedings.
Doc. No. 631-32; Finnerty v. Commissioner, No.
6:14-cv-2052-Orl-28KRS, Doc. No. 21 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 12,
remand, the Appeals Council vacated the final decision of the
Commissioner and remanded the case to an Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”) for proceedings consistent with the
Court's order. R. 657. While the appeal was pending,
Finnerty filed another SSI application. R. 760. The Appeals
Council directed the ALJ to consolidate the new application
with the previous applications and to issue a new decision.
held another hearing on December 22, 2016. Finnerty,
accompanied by an attorney, and a vocational expert
(“VE”) testified. R. 576-607.
considering the hearing testimony and the evidence in the
record, the ALJ found that Finnerty was insured under OASDI
through December 31, 2003. R. 556. The ALJ concluded that
Finnerty had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since July 6, 1998, the alleged disability onset date.
found that Finnerty had the following severe impairments:
diabetes mellitus with peripheral neuropathy; lumbar
degenerative disc disease; and adhesive capsulitis of the
shoulder. Id. These impairments, individually and in
combination, did not meet or equal a listed impairment. R.
found that Finnerty had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform light work with the following
[T]he claimant can only occasionally balance, stoop, kneel,
crouch, crawl, and climb ramps and stairs. The claimant
cannot climb ropes, ladders, or scaffolds. The claimant
cannot reach overhead, and can tolerate no more than frequent
handling with his dominant, right upper extremity. The
claimant must avoid concentrated exposure to wetness,
humidity, vibrations, work around moving, mechanical parts,
or work around unprotected heights. The claimant is limited
to work that allows for a 30-minute sit-stand option, with
the claimant being given a five-minute stretch break at the
Id. In making this assessment, the ALJ found that
Finnerty's reports of functional limitations were not
entirely consistent with medical evidence and other evidence
in the record. R. 560.
found that Finnerty could not return to his past relevant
work as a certified nursing assistant. R. 565. After
considering the testimony of the VE, the ALJ concluded that
there were light and sedentary unskilled jobs available in
the national economy that Finnerty could perform. R. 566-67.
Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Finnerty was not disabled.
R. 567. Finnerty did not file exceptions to this decision
and, therefore, it became the final decision of the
now seeks review of the final decision of the Commissioner by
AND STANDARD OF REVIEW.
having exhausted his administrative remedies, the Court has
jurisdiction to review the decision of the Commissioner
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), as adopted by reference
in 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3). A court's review of a
final decision by the SSA is limited to determining whether
the ALJ's factual findings are supported by substantial
evidence, Dyer v. Barnhart, 395 F.3d 1206, 1210
(11th Cir. 2005) (per curiam), and whether the ALJ applied
the correct legal standards, Lamb v. Bowen, 847 F.2d
698, 701 (11th Cir. 1988).