United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
B. SMITH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
brings this action pursuant to the Social Security Ac t
(“Act”), as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§
405(g) and 1383(c)(3), to obtain judicial review of a final
decision of Defendant, the Commissioner of the Social
Security Administration (the “Commissioner”)
denying his claims for Disability Insurance Benefits and
Supplemental Security Income under the Act. Upon review, the
Commissioner's final decision in this case is affirmed.
March 14, 2014, Plaintiff filed applications for Disability
Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income, alleging
disability commencing on February 26, 2011, due to back pain
and knee problems, kidney stones, a brain tumor, and high
blood pressure requiring several medications (Tr. 161, 163,
190, 199-200). His claims were denied initially and on
reconsideration and Plaintiff requested and received a
hearing before an administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) (Tr. 120, 123, 129, 140, 29-66). On
February 8, 2017, the ALJ found Plaintiff not disabled and
issued his unfavorable decision (Tr. 12-28). On September 13,
2017, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review (Tr.1-6). Accordingly, the ALJ's decision became
the Commissioner's final decision. This appeal timely
followed (Doc. 1).
ALJ 's Decision
determining whether an individual is disabled, the ALJ must
follow the five-step sequential evaluation process
established by the Social Security Administration and
published in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4) and
416.920(a)(4). Specifically, the ALJ must determine whether
the claimant (1) is currently employed; (2) has a severe
impairment; (3) has an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals an impairment
listed at 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1; (4) can
perform past relevant work; and (5) retains the ability to
perform any work in the national economy. See Phillips v.
Barnhart, 357 F.3d 1232, 1237-1240 (11th Cir. 2004). The
claimant bears the burden of persuasion through step four
and, at step five, the burden shifts to the Commissioner.
Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 146 n. 5 (1987);
Phillips, 357 F.3d at 1241 n.10.
the ALJ performed the required five-step sequential analysis.
At step one, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since his alleged onset date (20
CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.)
(Tr. 17). At step two, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had
the severe impairments of hypertension, morbid obesity,
osteoarthritis of the knees, a history of kidney stones,
lumbago, and a history of headaches (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and
416.920(c)) (Tr. 17). At step three, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one
of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1 (Tr. 18). Next, the ALJ found that Plaintiff
retained the residual functional capacity (“RFC”)
perform less than the full range of light work as defined in
20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). The claimant can lift,
carry, push, and pull 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds
frequently. The claimant can sit four hours at one time and a
total of eight hours per day and stand/walk two hours at one
time and a total of six hours per eight-hour day with normal
breaks. The claimant cannot climb ladders, but can
occasionally climb stairs and ramps, balance, stoop, kneel,
and crawl. The claimant can crouch without limitations. The
claimant has no manipulative, communicative, or visual
limitations. The claimant should avoid concentrated exposure
to extreme cold or humidity, and even moderate exposure to
work hazards, including unprotected heights and dangerous
four, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff was unable to perform
any past relevant work (Tr. 22). After applying the
Medical-Vocational Guidelines as a framework for decision
making and considering a vocational expert's testimony,
Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC, the
ALJ found, at step five, that Plaintiff could perform a
significant number of jobs in the national economy (Tr.
23-24), and was therefore not under a disability (Tr. 24).
of R eview
scope of the Court's review is limited to determining
whether the ALJ applied the correct legal standards and
whether the ALJ's findings are supported by substantial
evidence. Crawford v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 363
F.3d 1155, 1158 (11th Cir. 2004). Findings of fact are
conclusive if supported by substantial evidence. 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). Substantial evidence is “more than a
scintilla but less than a preponderance. It is such relevant
evidence that a reasonable person would accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.” Winschel v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 631 F.3d 1176, 1178 (11th Cir. 2011)
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 preponderance of the
evidence is against the Commissioner's decision.
Miles v. Chater, 84 F.3d 1397, 1400 (11th Cir.
1996). The district court “may not decide facts anew,
reweigh the evidence, or substitute our judgment for that of
the [Commissioner.]” Id. "The district
court must view the record 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) (per c uriam); accord Lowery v.
Sullivan, 979 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1992) (the court
must scrutinize the entire record to determine the
reasonableness of the factual findings).
of Medical Opinions
contends that the ALJ failed to properly weigh and evaluate
the opinion of his treating primary care ...