United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER 
C. RICHARDSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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.
Following an administrative hearing held on July 23, 2015,
the assigned Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
found Plaintiff not disabled from May 10, 2012, the alleged
disability onset date, through August 13, 2015, the date of
the ALJ's decision. (Tr. 23-60, 159.) Based on a review
of the record, the briefs, and the applicable law, the
Commissioner's decision is due to be REVERSED and
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).
argues that the ALJ's decision is not supported by
substantial evidence because she failed to properly evaluate
the medical evidence of record when she found at step three
of the sequential evaluation process that Plaintiff's back
impairment did not meet or medically equal the requirements
of Listing 1.04(A). The Commissioner responds that the
evidence does not establish listing-level severity and
substantial evidence supports the ALJ's decision that
Plaintiff can perform sedentary work.
two of the sequential evaluation process, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff's degenerative disease of the spine with
radiculopathy was a severe impairment. (Tr. 25.) At step
three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff did not have an
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. 26.) The ALJ explained:
[T]he medical evidence in the record does not contain the
precise signs, diagnostic findings, and objective
observations required by [Listing 1.04(A)]. . . .
In the instant case, there are insufficient quantitative
measurements to meet [L]isting 1.04. Although on a few
occasions the claimant's clinicians have reported
positive straight-leg raising tests in the seated position,
none of the doctors who reported these findings provided any
quantitative degrees at which this positive result occurred.
(Exhibit 4F/6, 8; Exhibit 6F/19). Notably, the evidence also
fails to establish any evidence of atrophy of any of the
claimant's muscle groups. Moreover, the record also
contains an analysis of the majority of the medical evidence
conducted by Debra Troiano, M.D., a State agency medical
consultant. Dr. Troiano reviewed the claimant's medical
record and opined that the claimant's impairment did not
meet listing levels. (Exhibit 3A/9).
Although the record contains a few additional records not
reviewed by Dr. Troiano, this newly submitted evidence is
largely duplicative of the prior evidence in the record.
(Exhibit 8F; Exhibit 9F). Ultimately, this subsequent
evidence does not contain any evidence that would suggest the
claimant's degenerative disease of the spine meets
Court agrees with Plaintiff that the ALJ's findings at
step three of the sequential evaluation process are not
supported by substantial evidence. Listing 1.04(A) provides:
Disorders of the spine (e.g., herniated nucleus
pulposus, spinal arachnoiditis, spinal stenosis,
osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, facet arthritis,
vertebral fracture), resulting in compromise of a nerve root
(including the cauda equina) or the spinal cord. With:
A. Evidence of nerve root compression characterized by
neuro-anatomic distribution of pain, limitation of motion of
the spine, motor loss (atrophy with associated muscle
weakness or muscle weakness) accompanied by sensory or reflex
loss and, if there is involvement of the ...