United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville 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.
Plaintiff alleges he became disabled on April 1, 2013.
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on
reconsideration. A hearing was held before the assigned
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on May 13, 2015,
at which Plaintiff was represented by an attorney. (Tr.
40-92.) The ALJ found Plaintiff not disabled since April 1,
2013, the alleged onset date, through June 30, 2015, the date
last insured. (Tr. 21-35.)
is appealing the Commissioner's decision that he was not
disabled during the relevant time period. 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 undersigned determines that the
Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.
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 two issues on appeal. First, Plaintiff argues that the
ALJ failed to properly weigh the medical opinion evidence,
including the opinions of treating physician Gregory Gibson,
M.D., and failed to properly evaluate Plaintiff's
residual functional capacity (“RFC”). (Doc. 15 at
11.) Second, Plaintiff argues that the ALJ failed to properly
evaluate his credibility. (Id. at 16.)
responds that the ALJ properly discounted the opinions of Dr.
Gibson. Defendant contends that the ALJ articulated valid
reasons for according Dr. Gibson's opinions no weight,
and those reasons are supported by substantial evidence.
(Doc. 16 at 5.) Defendant further asserts that the ALJ
properly evaluated and rejected the Plaintiff's
subjective complaints concerning the intensity and
persistence of his alleged symptoms. (Id. at 13.)
The ALJ's Decision
determined that Plaintiff had severe impairments, including
“history of two prior cervical spine anterior fusions
at ¶ 5/C7; history of left shoulder rotator cuff repair;
history of chronic low back pain with posterior lumbar spine
fusion at ¶ 5/S1 and a history of obesity.” (Tr.
26.) The ALJ then determined at step three that Plaintiff did
not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met
or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed
impairments. (Tr. 27.)
four, the ALJ made the following RFC determination:
[Plaintiff] had the [RFC] to perform a range of light work as
defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b). Specifically, [Plaintiff] has
the ability to sit for up to four hours and stand/walk for a
total of four hours in an eight-hour workday with the ability
to alternate his position between sitting and
standing/walking every 30 minutes. He should perform no more
than occasional pushing and pulling of arm/hand or foot/pedal
controls. Posturally, [Plaintiff] can occasionally perform
activities including climbing of ramps and stairs, but he
must avoid all climbing of ropes, ladders or scaffolds. All
other postural maneuvers are able to be done occasionally. In
terms of manipulative activities, including reaching in all
directions, handling, and fingering, he can perform these on
a frequent basis, although he is not permitted to reach
overhead. Environmentally, [Plaintiff] should avoid work at
unprotected heights, around dangerous moving machinery or in
proximity to heavy industrial vibrations.
(Tr. 27.) In making his finding, the ALJ evaluated the
medical opinion evidence and accorded “no weight”
to the opinions of Dr. Gibson, who opined that Plaintiff had
symptoms“persist[ing] to the point of
impairment/disability, ” and that Plaintiff was,
inter alia, able to sit for less than an hour;
stand/walk for less than an hour in an 8-hour workday;
required frequent breaks; and would miss work more than three
times per month. (Tr. 495, 498, 500.) When evaluating the
opinion evidence, the ALJ noted that:
Dr. Gibson has rarely treated the claimant over the prior two
years, he has not treated the claimant for musculoskeletal
related issues, his physical exams fail to demonstrate
significant problems, and there are no substantial notations
during the applicable period concerning the claimant's
alleged carpal tunnel syndrome . . . Dr. Gibson's
functional assessment is unsupported by his own medical
records and is inconsistent with the information obtained