United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
LETICIA M. ROMERO, Plaintiff,
ANDREW M. SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER 
R. KLINDT JUDGE
M. Romero (“Plaintiff”) is appealing the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration’s
(“SSA(’s)”) final decision denying her
claims for disability income benefits (“DIB”) and
supplemental security income (“SSI”).
Plaintiff’s alleged inability to work is the result of
stage two colon cancer. See Transcript of
Administrative Proceedings (Doc. No. 14; “Tr.” or
“administrative transcript”), filed June 13,
2018, at 258, 272, 397. Plaintiff filed applications for DIB
on March 27, 2015 and for SSI on December 16, 2015, Tr. at
363, alleging a disability onset date of February 8, 2015,
Tr. at 258, 273, 371. The applications were denied initially,
Tr. at 167, 258-70, 271, 288, 289-91, and upon
reconsideration, Tr. at 167, 272-86, 287, 293,
March 2, 2017, an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) held a hearing, during which he heard
testimony from Plaintiff, who was represented by counsel, and
a vocational expert (“VE”). Tr. at 184-233.
Plaintiff was fifty-two years old at the time of the hearing.
Tr. at 188. The ALJ issued a Decision on May 2, 2017, finding
Plaintiff not disabled through the date of the Decision. Tr.
Plaintiff requested review of the Decision by the Appeals
Council. See Tr. at 360. The Appeals Council
received additional evidence in the form of a brief authored
by Plaintiff’s counsel. Tr. at 5, 6; see Tr.
at 361 (brief). On February 9, 2018, the Appeals Council
denied Plaintiff’s request for review, Tr. at 1-4,
thereby making the ALJ’s Decision the final decision of
the Commissioner. On April 6, 2018, Plaintiff commenced this
action under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) by
timely filing a Complaint (Doc. No. 1), seeking judicial
review of the Commissioner’s final decision.
appeal, Plaintiff makes six arguments: 1) “[t]he ALJ
erred by not addressing each impairment alleged by . . .
Plaintiff”; 2) “[t]he ALJ failed to provide a
complete hypothetical question to the [VE] because he failed
to mention all of . . . Plaintiff’s documented
symptoms”; 3) “[t]he ALJ’s conclusions
about Plaintiff’s obesity pursuant to [Social Security
Ruling (‘SSR’)] 02-1p are erroneous and
inconsistent”; 4) “[t]he ALJ failed to properly
evaluate Plaintiff’s documented complaints of pain and
the supportive objective findings”; 5) “[t]he
ALJ’s residual functional capacity
[(‘RFC’)] assessment is not supported by
substantial evidence”; and 6) “[t]he ALJ erred by
not making findings regarding the combination of . . .
Plaintiff’s impairments.” Plaintiff’s
Memorandum of Law in Opposition to the Commissioner’s
Decision Denying Plaintiff Disability Insurance Benefits and
Supplemental Security Income Benefits (Doc. No. 20;
“Pl.'s Mem.”), filed October 11, 2018, at 7
(emphasis omitted). On December 10, 2018, Defendant filed a
Memorandum in Support of the Commissioner (Doc. No. 21;
“Def.’s Mem.”) addressing Plaintiff's
arguments. After a thorough review of the entire record and
consideration of the parties’ respective memoranda, the
undersigned finds that the Commissioner’s final
decision is due to be affirmed.
fifth argument regarding the ALJ’s RFC determination is
deemed to be waived for lack of development as
Plaintiff’s “argument” consists entirely of
case law. Pl.’s Mem. at 11-12; see, e.g.,
N.L.R.B. v. McClain of Ga., Inc., 138 F.3d 1418,
1422 (11th Cir. 1998) (stating that “[i]ssues raised in
a perfunctory manner, without supporting arguments and
citation to authorities, are generally deemed to be
waived”); see also T.R.C. ex rel. Boyd v.
Comm’r, 553 F. App’x. 914, 919 (11th Cir.
2014) (citing McClain in a Social Security appeal
and noting that the appellant “fail[ed] to develop any
arguments demonstrating that the ALJ erred in his
conclusions...”); Scheduling Order (Doc. No. 15),
entered June 13, 2018, at 1 (directing parties to
“identify with particularity the grounds upon which the
administrative decision is being challenged, ” advising
them that “[a]ny such challenges must be supported by
citation to the record of the pertinent facts and by
citations of the governing legal standards, ” and that
“[a]ny contention for which these requirements are not
met is subject to being disregarded for insufficient
development”). Accordingly, the undersigned does not
address Plaintiff’s fifth argument.
The ALJ’s Decision
determining whether an individual is disabled,  an ALJ must
follow the five-step sequential inquiry set forth in the Code
of Federal Regulations (“Regulations”),
determining as appropriate whether the claimant (1) is
currently employed or engaging in substantial gainful
activity; (2) has a severe impairment; (3) has an impairment
or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals
one listed in the Regulations; (4) can perform past relevant
work; and (5) retains the ability to perform any work in the
national economy. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920;
see also Phillips v. Barnhart, 357 F.3d 1232, 1237
(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
the ALJ followed the five-step sequential inquiry.
See Tr. at 169-76. At step one, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff Ahas not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since February 8, 2015, the alleged onset date.” Tr. at
169 (emphasis and citation omitted). The ALJ found at step
two that Plaintiff “has the following severe
impairments: a history of rectal cancer with postsurgical
colostomy and subsequent hernia at the colostomy site;
history of hypothyroidism; history of hyperlipidemia; history
of diabetes and a history of morbid obesity.” Tr. at
169 (emphasis and citation omitted). At step three, the ALJ
concluded that Plaintiff “does 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. at 171 (emphasis and
determined that Plaintiff has the following RFC:
[Plaintiff can] perform light work as defined in 20 [C.F.R.
§§] 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). Specifically,
[Plaintiff] can sit for 4 hours and stand/walk for 4 hours
each in an 8[-]hour workday with the option to alternate her
position between sitting and standing and walking every
thirty minutes; she can lift/carry 20 pounds occasionally and
10 pounds or less more frequently; she can push and pull arm,
hand or foot/pedal controls occasionally; she can
occasionally climb ramps and stairs; never climb ladders,
ropes or scaffolds; she can never crawl or squat; all other
postural activities can be done occasionally (including
balancing, stooping, crouching and kneeling); she can reach
in all directions, handle, finger and feel without
limitation; she should have no exposure to unprotected
heights or work around dangerous moving machinery and
concentrated industrial vibrations and she should work in a
temperature controlled environment with access to a restroom
Tr. at 172 (emphasis omitted).
four, the ALJ relied on the testimony of the VE and found
that Plaintiff “is unable to perform any of her past
relevant work.” Tr. at 175 (emphasis and citation
omitted). At step five, after considering Plaintiff’s
age (“50 years old . . . on the alleged disability
onset date”), education (“a limited
education”), work experience, and RFC, the ALJ relied
again on the testimony of the VE and found that “there
are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national
economy that [Plaintiff] can perform, ” Tr. At 175
(emphasis and citation omitted), such as “Marker,
” “Router, ” and “Routing Clerk,
” Tr. at 176. The ALJ concluded that Plaintiff
“has not been under a disability . . . from February 8,
2015 through the date of th[e D]ecision.” Tr. at 176
(emphasis and citation omitted).
Standard of Review
Court reviews the Commissioner’s final decision as to
disability pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and
1383(c)(3). Although no deference is given to the ALJ’s
conclusions of law, findings of fact “are conclusive if
. . . supported by ‘substantial evidence.’”
Doughty v. Apfel, 245 F.3d 1274, 1278 (11th Cir.
2001) (citing Falge v. Apfel, 150 F.3d 1320, 1322
(11th Cir. 1998)). “Substantial evidence is something
‘more than a mere scintilla, but less than a
preponderance.’” Dyer v. Barnhart, 395
F.3d 1206, 1210 (11th Cir. 2005) (quoting Hale v.
Bowen, 831 F.2d 1007, 1011 (11th Cir. 1987)). The
substantial evidence standard is met when there is
“such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.”
Falge, 150 F.3d at 1322 (quoting Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)). It is not for this
Court to reweigh the evidence; rather, the entire record is
reviewed to determine whether “the decision reached is
reasonable and supported by substantial evidence.”
Cornelius v. Sullivan, 936 F.2d 1143, 1145 (11th
Cir. 1991) (citation omitted). The decision reached by the
Commissioner must be affirmed if it is supported by
substantial evidence-even if the evidence preponderates
against the Commissioner’s findings. Crawford v.
Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 363 F.3d 1155, 1158-59 (11th
Cir. 2004) (per curiam).