United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando 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 applications for a period of disability and Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”). Plaintiff alleges he
became disabled on October 26, 2010. (Tr. 16, 178.) A hearing
was held via video conference before the assigned
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on January 13,
2015, at which Plaintiff was represented by an attorney. (Tr.
33-82.) The ALJ rendered a decision on June 25, 2015, finding
Plaintiff not disabled from October 26, 2010, the alleged
onset date, through June 30, 2012, the date last
insured. (Tr. 16-27.)
is appealing the Commissioner's decision that he was not
disabled from October 26, 2010 through June 30, 2012.
Plaintiff has exhausted his available administrative remedies
and the case is properly before the Court. The undersigned
has reviewed the record, the briefs, and the applicable law.
For the reasons stated herein, the Commissioner's
decision is REVERSED and REMANDED.
Standard of Review
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 n.3 (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 factual findings).
raises one general issue on appeal. Plaintiff argues that the
ALJ erred in evaluating the record medical opinions.
Specifically, Plaintiff argues that the ALJ improperly: (a)
failed to incorporate all of the limitations set forth in the
September 20, 2012 Functional Capacity Evaluation
(“FCE”) by supervising physical therapist Kristin
Ciuro in Plaintiff's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”); (b) ignored Ms. Ciuro's opinions
rendered in March 2011; (c) failed to articulate good cause
supported by substantial evidence for rejecting the August 9,
2011 opinions of Plaintiff's treating orthopedic surgeon,
Paul Keller, M.D.; (d) ignored Dr. Keller's July 24, 2012
opinions; (e) failed to articulate good cause supported by
substantial evidence for rejecting the opinions of treating
physician Antonio Rivera, M.D.; and (f) relied on state
agency reviewing physicians.
responds that the ALJ properly evaluated the medical opinions
of record, and his RFC assessment is supported by substantial
Standard for Evaluating Opinion Evidence
is required to consider all the evidence in the record when
making a disability determination. See 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520(a)(3). With regard to medical opinion
evidence, “the ALJ must state with particularity the
weight given to different medical opinions and the reasons
therefor.” Winschel v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 631 F.3d 1176, 1179 (11th Cir. 2011). Substantial
weight must be given to a treating physician's opinion
unless there is good cause to do otherwise. See Lewis v.
Callahan, 125 F.3d 1436, 1440 (11th Cir. 1997).
cause' exists when the: (1) treating physician's
opinion was not bolstered by the evidence; (2) evidence
supported a contrary finding; or (3) treating physician's
opinion was conclusory or inconsistent with the doctor's
own medical records.” Phillips v. Barnhart,
357 F.3d 1232, 1240-41 (11th Cir. 2004). When a treating
physician's opinion does not warrant controlling weight,
the ALJ must nevertheless weigh the medical opinion based on:
(1) the length of the treatment relationship and the
frequency of examination, (2) the nature and extent of the
treatment relationship, (3) the medical evidence supporting
the opinion, (4) consistency of the medical opinion with the
record as a whole, (5) specialization in the medical issues
at issue, and (6) any other factors that tend to support or
contradict the opinion. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(2)-(6).
a treating physician's opinion is generally entitled to
more weight than a consulting physician's opinion,
see Wilson v. Heckler, 734 F.2d 513, 518 (11th Cir.
1984) (per curiam); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(2),
“[t]he opinions of state agency physicians” can
outweigh the contrary opinion of a treating physician if
“that opinion has been properly discounted, ”
Cooper v. Astrue, No. 8:06-cv-1863-T-27TGW, 2008 WL
649244, at *3 (M.D. Fla. Mar. 10, 2008). Further, “the
ALJ may reject any medical opinion if the evidence supports a
contrary finding.” Wainwright v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec. Admin., No. 06-15638, 2007 WL 708971, at *2 (11th
Cir. Mar. 9, 2007) (per curiam); see also Sryock v.
Heckler, 764 F.2d 834, 835 (11th Cir. 1985) (per curiam)
ALJ is required to consider the opinions of non-examining
state agency medical and psychological consultants because
they ‘are highly qualified physicians and
psychologists, who are also experts in Social Security
disability evaluation.'” Milner v.
Barnhart, 275 Fed.Appx. 947, 948 (11th Cir. May 2, 2008)
(per curiam). See also SSR 96-6p (stating that the
ALJ must treat the findings of State agency medical
consultants as expert opinion evidence of non-examining
sources). While the ALJ is not bound by the findings of
non-examining physicians, the ALJ may not ignore these
opinions and must explain the weight given to them in his
decision. SSR 96-6p.