United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER
MCCOY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is the Complaint, filed on June 13, 2018. (Doc. 1).
Plaintiff seeks judicial review of the final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) denying his claim for a period of
disability and disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”). The Commissioner filed the Transcript of
the proceedings (hereinafter referred to as “Tr.”
followed by the appropriate page number), and the parties
filed a joint memorandum detailing their respective
positions. For the reasons set forth herein, the decision of
the Commissioner is AFFIRMED pursuant to
§ 205(g) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §
Social Security Act Eligibility, the ALJ Decision, and
Standard of Review
defines disability as the inability to do any substantial
gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment that can be expected to result
in death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a
continuous period of not less than twelve months. 42 U.S.C.
§§ 416(i), 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A); 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1505, 416.905. The impairment must be
severe, making the Plaintiff unable to do his previous work
or any other substantial gainful activity that exists in the
national economy. 42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(2),
1382c(a)(3); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1505-.1511,
December 16, 2015, Plaintiff filed an application for
disability insurance benefits. (Tr. at 120). Plaintiff
alleged an onset date of November 1, 2014. (Id.).
His application was denied initially on February 19, 2016 and
again on reconsideration on April 19, 2016. (Id. at
68, 77). A hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) William Manico on February 13, 2017 in
Fort Myers, Florida. (Id. at 28). ALJ Manico issued
an unfavorable decision on July 6, 2017, finding Plaintiff
not to be under a disability from November 1, 2014 through
June 30, 2015, the date last insured. (Id. at 16).
Plaintiff requested a review of the decision, which the
Appeals Council denied. (Id. at 1). Plaintiff filed
a Complaint in the United States District Court on June 13,
2018. (Doc. 1). This case is ripe for review. The parties
consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge
for all proceedings. (Doc. 12).
Summary of the ALJ's Decision
must follow a five-step sequential evaluation process to
determine if a Plaintiff has proven that he is disabled.
Packer v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 542 Fed.Appx.
890, 891 (11th Cir. 2013) (citing Jones v. Apfel,
190 F.3d 1224, 1228 (11th Cir. 1999)). An ALJ must
determine whether the Plaintiff: (1) is performing
substantial gainful activity; (2) has a severe impairment;
(3) has a severe impairment that meets or equals an
impairment specifically listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1; (4) can perform her past relevant work; and
(5) can perform other work found in the national economy.
Phillips v. Barnhart, 357 F.3d 1232, 1237-40 (11th
Cir. 2004). The Plaintiff has the burden of proof through
step four, and then the burden shifts to the Commissioner at
step five. Hines-Sharp v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
511 Fed.Appx. 913, 915 n.2 (11th Cir. 2013).
found that Plaintiff meets the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act through June 30, 2015. (Tr. at 12).
At step one of the sequential evaluation, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
from November 1, 2014, the alleged onset date, through his
date last insured, June 30, 2015. (Id.). At step
two, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff suffered from the
following severe impairments: arthritis, hepatitis C, and
degenerative disc disease. (Id. (citing 20 C.F.R.
404.1521)). At step three, the ALJ determined that through
the date last insured, Plaintiff “did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that significantly
limited the ability to perform basic work-related activities
for 12 consecutive months; therefore, the claimant did not
have a severe impairment or combination of
impairments.” (Id. at 13 (citing 16 C.F.R.
404.1521)). Thus, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was not
under a disability at any time from November 1, 2014, the
alleged onset date, through June 30, 2015, the date last
insured. (Id. at 16).
Standard of Review
scope of this Court's review is limited to determining
whether the ALJ applied the correct legal standard,
McRoberts v. Bowen, 841 F.2d 1077, 1080 (11th Cir.
1988), and whether the findings are supported by substantial
evidence, Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 390
(1971). The Commissioner's findings of fact are
conclusive if supported by substantial evidence. 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). Substantial evidence is more than a
scintilla-i.e., the evidence must do more than
merely create a suspicion of the existence of a fact and must
include such relevant evidence as a reasonable person would
accept as adequate to support the conclusion. Foote v.
Chater, 67 F.3d 1553, 1560 (11th Cir. 1995) (citing
Walden v. Schweiker, 672 F.2d 835, 838 (11th Cir.
1982); Richardson, 402 U.S. at 401).
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, 67 F.3d at 1560;
accord Lowery v. Sullivan, 979 F.2d 835, 837 (11th
Cir. 1992) (noting that court must scrutinize entire record
to determine reasonableness of factual findings).