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Williams v. Saul

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

July 16, 2019

MAREITTIA WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW M. SAUL, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [1]

          JOEL B. TOOMEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         THIS CAUSE is before the undersigned on Plaintiff's appeal of an administrative decision denying her applications for a Period of Disability, Disability Insurance Benefits, and Supplemental Security Income. In a decision dated February 14, 2018, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from March 30, 2015, the alleged disability onset date, through the date of decision. (Tr. 10-24.) Plaintiff has exhausted her available administrative remedies and the case is properly before the Court. The undersigned has reviewed the record, the memoranda, and the applicable law. For the reasons stated herein, the undersigned respectfully RECOMMENDS that the Commissioner's decision be AFFIRMED.

         I. Issues on Appeal

         Plaintiff raises the following two issues on appeal:

Issue Number 1:
Whether the ALJ erred in determining that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light [work] with some non-exertional limitations after failing to weigh and consider the opinions of the claimant's treating physicians and the medical evidence.
Issue Number 2:
Whether the ALJ erred in failing to adequately weigh the claimant's credibility when the record clearly reveals that the Plaintiff suffered from documented impairments causing significant limitations.

(Doc. 18 at 13, 18.)

         II. Standard of Review

         As the Eleventh Circuit has stated:

In Social Security appeals, we must determine whether the Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial evidence and based on proper legal standards. Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla and is such relevant evidence as a reasonable person would accept as adequate to support a conclusion. We may not decide the facts anew, reweigh the evidence, or substitute our judgment for that of the [Commissioner].

Winschel v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 631 F.3d 1176, 1178 (11th Cir. 2011) (citations and quotations omitted). “With respect to the Commissioner's legal conclusions, however, our review is de novo.” Lewis v. Barnhart, 285 F.3d 1329, 1330 (11th Cir. 2002).

         III. The ALJ's Decision

         At step two of the sequential evaluation process, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the severe impairments of “obesity, status post bilateral knee surgery, degenerative disc disease, hypertension, gastritis, H. Pylori infections, mild aortic aneurysm, and asthma.”[2] (Tr. 13.) At step three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled a listing. (Tr. 15-17.) Prior to step four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”):

[T]o perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) with the following additional limitations, the claimant could occasionally climb ramps, stairs, ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She could frequently balance or stoop and occasionally kneel, crouch, and crawl. The claimant ...

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