Williams v. Colvin
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER: The court has carefully and independently reviewed the record and concludes that substantial evidence supports the ALJs conclusion that Plaintiff is not disabled. Thus, the court concludes that the decision of the Commissioner is supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the decision of the Commissioner be and is hereby AFFIRMED.Signed by Honorable Judge Terry F. Moorer on 2/3/2014. (dmn, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
CORI L. WILLIAMS,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security,
CIV. ACT. NO. 1:13cv198-TFM
MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER
I. Procedural History
Plaintiff Cori L. Williams (“Williams”) applied for supplemental security income
benefits pursuant to Title XVI, 42 U.S.C. § 1381 et seq., alleging that she is unable to
work because of a disability. Her application was denied at the initial administrative
level. The plaintiff then requested and received a hearing before an Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”). Following the hearing, the ALJ concluded that Williams was not under a
“disability” as defined in the Social Security Act.
The ALJ, therefore, denied the
plaintiff’s claim for benefits. The Appeals Council rejected a subsequent request for
Consequently, the ALJ’s decision became the final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”).1 See Chester v. Bowen, 792 F.2d
129, 131 (11th Cir. 1986). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties have consented to
Pursuant to the Social Security Independence and Program Improvements Act of 1994, Pub.L. No. 103-296, 108
Stat. 1464, the functions of the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to Social Security matters were
transferred to the Commissioner of Social Security.
entry of final judgment by the United States Magistrate Judge. The case is now before
the court for review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1631(c)(3). Based on the
court’s review of the record in this case and the parties’ briefs, the court concludes that
the Commissioner’s decision should be AFFIRMED.
II. Standard of Review
Under 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A), a person is entitled to disability benefits when
the person is unable to
engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically
determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to
result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a
continuous period of not less than 12 months . . .
To make this determination, the Commissioner employs a five-step, sequential
evaluation process. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920.
(1) Is the person presently unemployed?
(2) Is the person’s impairment severe?
(3) Does the person's impairment meet or equal one of the specific
impairments set forth in 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt. P, App. 1?
(4) Is the person unable to perform his or her former occupation?
(5) Is the person unable to perform any other work within the economy?
An affirmative answer to any of the above questions leads either to the next
question, or, on steps three and five, to a finding of disability. A negative
answer to any question, other than step three, leads to a determination of
McDaniel v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 1026, 1030 (11th Cir. 1986).2
The standard of review of the Commissioner’s decision is a limited one. This
court must find the Commissioner’s decision conclusive if it is supported by substantial
McDaniel v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 1026 (11th Cir. 1986) is a supplemental security income case (SSI). The same
sequence applies to disability insurance benefits. Cases arising under Title II are appropriately cited as authority in
Title XVI cases. See e.g. Ware v. Schweiker, 651 F.2d 408 (5th Cir. 1981) (Unit A).
evidence. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Graham v. Apfel, 129 F.3d 1420, 1422 (11th Cir. 1997).
“Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla, but less than a preponderance. It is such
relevant evidence as a reasonable person would accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971). A reviewing court may
not look only to those parts of the record which supports the decision of the ALJ but
instead must view the record in its entirety and take account of evidence which detracts
from the evidence relied on by the ALJ. Hillsman v. Bowen, 804 F.2d 1179 (11th Cir.
[The court must] . . . scrutinize the record in its entirety to determine the
reasonableness of the [Commissioner’s] . . . factual findings . . . No similar
presumption of validity attaches to the [Commissioner’s] . . . legal
conclusions, including determination of the proper standards to be applied
in evaluating claims.
Walker v. Bowen, 826 F.2d 996, 999 (11th Cir. 1987).
III. The Issues
Williams was 26 years old at the time of the hearing and is a high school graduate.
(R. 38-39). She has prior work experience as a horse trainer, cart attendant, and waitress.
(R. 41-42). Williams alleges that she became disabled on June 17, 2009 due to migraine
headaches and fibromyalgia. (R. 43, 140). After the hearing on March 7, 2011, the ALJ
found that Williams suffers from severe impairments of fibromyalgia and migraine
headaches. (R. 23). The ALJ found that Williams is unable to perform her past relevant
work, but that she retains the residual functional capacity to perform light work “except
that she must alter her positions every two hours and is limited to the performance of
simple, routine, and repetitive tasks to accommodate complaints of pain and medication
side effects.” (R. 26). Testimony from a vocational expert led the ALJ to conclude that a
significant number of jobs exist in the national economy that Williams can perform,
including work as an information clerk, garment bagger, and cashier.
Accordingly, the ALJ concluded that Williams is not disabled. (R. 34).
B. The Plaintiff’s Claims
Williams presents the following issues for review:
The Commissioner’s decision should be reversed because the ALJ
failed to provide good cause for her rejection of the opinion of Dr.
Connie Chandler, Williams’ treating physician.
The Commissioner’s decision should be reversed because the ALJ
failed to address the entire opinion of Dr. Prameela Goli, an
(Doc. No. 12).
A. Rejection of Treating Physician’s Opinion
Williams argues that the ALJ improperly rejected Dr. Chandler’s opinion about
the severity of her limitations. In essence, the plaintiff argues that if the ALJ accepted the
opinion of the family practitioner about her physical impairments, she would be disabled.
On March 2, 2011, Dr. Chandler completed a clinical assessment of pain form, in which
she found that pain is present to such an extent as to be distracting to adequate
performance of daily activities or work, that physical activity greatly increases pain to
such a degree as to cause distraction from tasks or total abandonment of a task, and that
the side effects of prescribed medication can be expected to be severe and would limit
effectiveness due to distraction, inattention, and drowsiness. (R. 259). Dr. Chandler also
completed a physical capacities evaluation form, in which she found that Williams is able
to lift no more than ten pounds occasionally to five pounds frequently; sit no more than
one to two hours and stand no more than one hour during an eight-hour workday; never
climb, bend or stoop; that she can rarely push or pull, reach or work around hazardous
machinery; is likely to be absent from work more than four days per month; and requires
an assistive device to ambulate during a normal workday. (R. 260). Dr. Chandler noted
that her opinion about Williams’ physical capacity is based on her diagnosis of severe
fibromyalgia and because Williams “is in constant pain [and] requires Lortab for pain
control[,] . . . is pregnant at this time [and] also has had several emergency room visits for
intractable pain.” (Id).
The law is well-settled; the opinion of a claimant=s treating physician must be
accorded substantial weight unless good cause exists for not doing so. Jones v. Bowen,
810 F.2d 1001, 1005 (11th Cir. 1986); Broughton v. Heckler, 776 F.2d 960, 961 (11th
The Commissioner, as reflected in his regulations, also demonstrates a
similar preference for the opinion of treating physicians.
Generally, we give more weight to opinions from your treating sources,
since these sources are likely to be the medical professionals most able to
provide a detailed, longitudinal picture of your medical impairment(s) and
may bring a unique perspective to the medical evidence that cannot be
obtained from the objective medical findings alone or from reports of
individual examinations, such as consultive examinations or brief
Lewis v. Callahan, 125 F.3d 1436, 1440 (11th Cir. 1997) (citing 20 CFR ' 404.1527
(d)(2)). The ALJ=s failure to give considerable weight to the treating physician=s opinion
is reversible error. Broughton, 776 F.2d at 961-2; Wiggins v. Schweiker, 679 F.2d 1387
(11th Cir. 1982).
However, there are limited circumstances when the ALJ can disregard the treating
physician=s opinion. The requisite Agood cause@ for discounting a treating physician=s
opinion may exist where the opinion is not supported by the evidence, or where the
evidence supports a contrary finding. See Schnorr v. Bowen, 816 F.2d 578, 582 (11th
Cir. 1987). Good cause may also exist where a doctor=s opinions are merely conclusory;
inconsistent with the doctor=s medical records; or unsupported by objective medical
evidence. See Jones v. Dep=t. of Health & Human Servs., 941 F.2d 1529, 1532-33 (11th
Cir. 1991); Edwards v. Sullivan, 937 F.2d 580, 584-85 (11th Cir. 1991); Johns v. Bowen,
821 F.2d 551, 555 (11th Cir. 1987). The weight afforded to a physician=s conclusory
statements depends upon the extent to which they are supported by clinical or laboratory
findings and are consistent with other evidence of the claimant=s impairment. Wheeler v.
Heckler, 784 F.2d 1073, 1075 (11th Cir. 1986). The ALJ Amay reject the opinion of any
physician when the evidence supports a contrary conclusion.@ Bloodsworth v. Heckler,
703 F.2d 1233, 1240 (11th Cir. 1983). The ALJ must articulate the weight given to a
treating physician=s opinion and must articulate any reasons for discounting the opinion.
Schnorr, 816 F.2d at 581.
After reviewing all the medical records, the ALJ discounted the opinion of Dr.
Chandler as set forth in the physical capacities and clinical assessment of pain forms
because the findings “are not supported by or consistent with the remainder of the
objective record or her own treatment notations of record.” (R. 27). Specifically, the
ALJ found as follows:
. . . The claimant presented for treatment to Dr. Chandler on limited
occasions between late November 2009 through early September 2010 and offered
assessments of lumbar spine pain, cervical pain, fibromyalgia, and deep vein
thrombosis of the left leg. Dr. Chandler prescribed the claimant medications as
appropriate, but her notations did not document her medical source opinions that
the claimant was totally debilitated by symptomatology, including pain, or
medication side effects. Dr. Chandler noted in opinion evidence that the claimant
required an assistive device to ambulate even minimally in a normal workday, but
the undersigned can find no reference in her notations to the claimant’s medical
necessity with regard to the use of a cane. Additionally, according to Dr. Goli, the
claimant did not require the use of a cane to ambulate.
The ALJ’s determination is supported by substantial evidence.
limitations identified by Dr. Chandler in the physical capacity evaluation and clinical
assessment of pain forms are not supported by her own treatment records. The medical
records indicate that Leslie Canfield, a nurse practitioner at Dr. Chandler’s office,
examined Williams five times between November 2009 and September 2010. (R. 209210, 216-217, 257-58).
On November 23, 2009, Williams presented to the nurse
practitioner with complaints of pain “from head to toe.” (R. 209). The nurse practitioner
noted Williams had a full range of motion of extremities with joint tenderness, that she
was pregnant, and that she smoked half of a pack of cigarettes a day. (R. 209-210). She
diagnosed Williams as suffering from lumbar spine pain, cervical pain, and fibromyalgia,
prescribed Flexeril, and referred her to a rheumatologist for the treatment of fibromyalgia
during pregnancy. (Id). On December 11, 2009, Williams returned to the nurse
practitioner, complaining of fibromyalgia pain and that her prescription for Flexeril “did
not help [with] the pain whatsoever.” (R. 217). She also reported that it takes her ten
minutes to get out of bed in the morning. (Id.) The nurse practitioner prescribed Lortab,
noting the risks of taking medication during pregnancy.
On June 24, 2010,
Williams returned to the nurse practitioner complaining that her fibromyalgia was
“flaring up” over the past six months. (R. 216). The nurse practitioner prescribed
Savella and Ultram. (Id). Laboratory tests conducted on June 28, 2010, revealed low
Vitamin D levels. (R. 219). The nurse practitioner prescribed vitamin supplements. (Id).
Upon her return to the nurse practitioner on September 2, 2010, Williams reported
that medical personnel at Flowers Hospital found a blood clot in her left leg and
complained that Savella did not alleviate her pain. (R. 258). The nurse practitioner noted
that Williams was a patient at Houston Prenatal Group and diagnosed Williams as
suffering from deep vein thrombosis. (Id). On September 7, 2010, both Dr. Connie
Chandler and the nurse practitioner conducted an examination. (R. 257). Dr. Chandler
noted that Williams was pregnant and diagnosed her with deep vein thrombosis and
fibromyalgia. (Id). She prescribed Lovenox and Flexeril. (Id).
With the exception of one examination by Dr. Chandler to treat Williams’ deep
vein thrombosis, all of the examinations during the relevant time period were conducted
by the nurse practitioner. In addition, the medical records indicate that Williams sought
treatment from Dr. Chandler on an infrequent basis. For example, she did not seek
treatment from Dr. Chandler or the nurse practitioner until six months after her December
11, 2009 appointment. In addition, nothing in either the nurse practitioner’s or Dr.
Chandler’s notes indicates that Williams suffered any side effects from medication or
required an assistive device. This court therefore concludes that the discounting of Dr.
Chandler’s opinion that Williams suffers from extreme limitations on the basis that the
general practitioner’s opinion is inconsistent with her own medical records is supported
by substantial evidence.
The ALJ’s rejection of Dr. Chandler’s conclusory opinion is also supported by
other evidence in the record. For example, on September 24, 2009, Williams went to Dr.
H. Kesserwani, a rheumatologist, with complaints of very bad headaches “averaging two
a month [and lasting] up to seven days, mostly occipital, severe, associated with
photophobia and phonophobia.” (R. 196). Dr. Kesserwani noted that Williams was four
months pregnant and smokes half of a pack of cigarettes a day. (Id). He diagnosed her as
suffering from episodic migraine and prescribed Periactin for migraine prevention. (R.
Dr. Kesserwani recommended bilateral occipital nerve blocks if Williams’
condition did not improve. (Id).
Two days later on September 26, 2009, Williams went to the emergency room at
Dale Medical Center complaining of a migraine and reporting that Tylenol did not
alleviate her symptoms. (R. 179-180).
An emergency room physician diagnosed
Williams as suffering from a migraine headache and prescribed Demerol and Phenergan.
On September 29, 2009 -- five days after her initial visit, Williams returned to Dr.
Kesserwani’s office. (R. 195). The rheumatologist administered a greater occipital nerve
block and suprascapular nerve block. (Id).
On October 30, 2009, Dr. Kesserwani wrote a letter “to whom it may concern” in
which he stated that Williams was “started . . . on migraine preventive Periactin,” that
“[s]he withdrew from school for medical reasons,” and that “[h]er withdrawal is
legitimate.” (R. 194).
On November 6, 2009, Williams went to the emergency room at Flowers Hospital
complaining of sharp cramping abdomen pain and back pain.
personnel noted that Williams smokes cigarettes. (Id). The emergency room physician’s
clinical impression was acute abdominal pain intrauterine pregnancy. (R. 186). The
physician advised Williams to take Acetaminophen. (R. 187).
On November 7, 2009, Williams went to the emergency department at Dale
Medical Center, complaining of nausea. (R. 176). Medical personnel found no muscle
spasms or tenderness upon examination. (Id). A physician’s clinical impression was
pregnancy-related nausea. (R. 177).
On November 11, 2009, Dr. Kesserwani administered an occipital nerve block and
suprascapular nerve block. (R. 193). He noted that “occipital nerve blocks have worked
beautifully.” (R. 192).
On November 15, 2009, Williams presented to the emergency department at
Medical Center Enterprise, complaining of pain in multiple sites at a level of 5 at that
time and eight at its maximum intensity on a ten-point scale. (R. 199-201). Dr. Rick
Harrelson’s clinical impression was fibromyalgia and five-month pregnancy. (R. 203).
Dr. Harrelson prescribed Lortab. (R. 203).
On December 16, 2009, Williams went to Dr. Edmund G. LaCour, a
rheumatologist, complaining of pain from “head to toe” with diffuse tenderness to touch,
and achiness and stiffness in the mornings when getting out of bed. (R. 215).
conducting a joint exam, Dr. LaCour found “excellent pain-free motion throughout,
without any swollen or particularly tender joints.
Soft tissue exam is notable for
moderate widespread tenderness.” (R. 215). His diagnostic assessment was “syndrome
compatible with fibromyalgia, developing in her fourth month of pregnancy.” (R. 215).
Dr. LaCour noted that there is no safe medication for fibromyalgia that may be taken
during pregnancy and that Williams would “have to wait until she has delivered and has
stopped nursing before initiating any.” (R. 214).
On March 25, 2010, Williams returned to Dr. LaCour with complaints of
widespread myalgia. (R. 213.) Dr. LaCour found significant widespread soft tissue
tenderness and assessed fibromyalgia. (Id). He also recommended as follows:
Because she is breast-feeding, there is nothing that she can take
safely as approved for treating fibromyalgia. Once she has stopped breastfeeding, she will certainly be a candidate for Cymbalta or Savella.
Neurontin or Lyrica could be considered. She was given 60 mg of Toradol
IM today, but was informed that there are no studies documenting the
safety of using this on an ongoing basis. She will follow up with her
primary care physician regarding fibromyalgia.
Five days later, on March 30, 2010, Williams went to the emergency department at
Flowers Hospital complaining of chest pain. (R. 252). She reported that one week earlier
“she had a friend pop her back and she had the immediate onset of left sided rib cage
pain.” (Id.) An emergency room physician recommended that she not allow anyone to
pop her back and prescribed Norflex, Decadron, and Percocet. (R. 254). On April 15,
2010, Williams returned to Flowers Hospital complaining of a headache, right shoulder
pain, and a “fibromyalgia flare up.” (R. 250). An emergency room physician’s clinical
impression was acute non-specific headache, fibromyalgia, and right shoulder pain. (R.
251). The doctor prescribed Lortab and Robaxin. (Id).
On June 8, 2010, Williams went to the emergency department complaining of pain
in multiple sites with gradually worsening symptoms over a seven-month period. (R.
246). The emergency room physician noted positive joint pain and myalgias. (R. 246).
His clinical impression was chronic pain. (Id). Williams was prescribed Anaprox. (Id).
On August 11, 2010, Williams returned to the emergency room complaining of
knee pain. (R. 243). Upon discharge, Williams was provided with crutches, a knee
immobilization device, and a prescription for Decadron. (R. 245). Williams went to the
emergency room again on August 14, 2010, complaining of knee pain. (R. 241). The
emergency room physician’s clinical impression was a ligamentous sprain to the left
knee. (Id). The physician prescribed Vicoprofen. (Id).
On August 20, 2010, Williams returned to Flowers Hospital, complaining of lower
leg pain and swelling after spraining her knee between the crib and the wall while
holding her newborn infant. (R. 238). The emergency room physician, Dr. A. Roland
Spedale, noted that Williams smokes one pack of cigarettes a day and that she “smoked
all throughout her last pregnancy.” (Id). He also noted:
She has been advised by numerous people through the
hospitalization for smoking cessation. She states she has smoked through
all her pregnancies and is told to do so by her family because they cannot
stand her due to her moodiness without smoking. She states they “throw a
pack of cigarettes and lighter at her head and tell her to smoke.”
Williams was admitted to the hospital and administered anticoagulation
Dr. Spedale noted that Williams was “currently
nonweightbearing on the left lower extremity and was using crutches and a
wheelchair through this admission.” (R. 232). Upon discharge, Dr. Spedale
diagnosed Williams as suffering from (1) extensive left lower extremity deep vein
thrombosis; (2) left knee sprain; (3) five and a half weeks pregnant; (4) tobacco
use against medical advice; (5) fibromyalgia; (6) chronic migraines; and (7)
chronic pain syndrome status post motor vehicle accident. (R. 231).
On September 15, 2010, Williams returned to Flowers Hospital complaining of
fibromyalgia pain in multiple areas, a headache, and nausea. (R. 228). She indicated that
Lortab and Flexeril did not relieve her symptoms and that her headache pain was an 8 on
a ten-point scale. (Id). An emergency room physician’s clinical impression was urinary
tract infection, pregnancy, and acute non-specific headache. (R. 230). The physician
noted that he would not prescribe any prescription pain medication or a muscle relaxer
due to pregnancy and that Williams “wanted to go outside and smoke while waiting for
discharge papers.” (R. 230).
This court therefore concludes that the ALJ’s discounting of Dr. Chandler’s
opinion based on medical evidence in the record is supported by substantial evidence.
Other than records of Williams’ brief hospitalization for deep vein thrombosis, nothing in
the medical record indicates that Williams was prescribed a cane or other mobility
device. Thus, Dr. Chandler’s finding that Williams required the use of an assistive
device to ambulate during a normal workday is not supported by the medical evidence.
Moreover, the record indicates that several of Williams’ problems were due to
pregnancy-related complications or temporary conditions, such as deep vein thrombosis.
In addition, Williams did not seek treatment from a rheumatologist or other specialist on
a consistent basis and her headaches and fibromyalgia-related symptoms were treated
conservatively. Thus, the ALJ’s rejection of Dr. Chandler’s opinion that Williams suffers
from extreme limitations is supported by substantial evidence.
The Consultative Examiner’s Opinion
The ALJ gave considerable weight to the opinion of Dr. Prameela Goli, a
consultative rheumatologist. Specifically, the ALJ found:
. . . The undersigned notes that no credible treating or consultative
physician has opined that the claimant was disabled because of any
physical or mental condition or from any resulting symptoms. Regarding
the claimant’s impairments, the undersigned has assigned considerable
evidentiary weight to the consultative evaluation findings and medical
source statement of Dr. Goli, in that the conclusions she reached are most
accurately reflected by the overall, credible objective evidentiary record.
Dr. Goli’s evaluation reflected a multitude of normal physical findings and
her medical source statement is essentially consistent with a residual
functional capacity for light work.
(R. 26). The ALJ also discussed Dr. Goli’s findings as follows:
. . . [C]onsultative evaluator Dr. Goli observed during physical
examination that the claimant was able to get onto the examination table
without difficulty. Dr. Goli found that the claimant’s cervical spine exam
was normal with a normal range of motion, but that she experienced some
tenderness over the paracervical muscles. Examination of the dorsal
lumbar spine showed tenderness of the lumbar area, and the straight leg test
was normal. Dr. Goli detected normal reflexes, good sensory function,
good motor power, and a normal spine range of motion. Dr. Goli also
found, regarding the claimant’s upper extremities and shoulders, that she
had good range of motion on both sides and that her elbows were normal.
Further, the claimant’s wrists, PIP joints, and DIP joints were normal, and
she displayed normal reflexes and good strength. Additionally, Dr. Goli
observed the claimant’s good sensory function and good motor power, as
well as negative Tinel’s and Phalan signs. Regarding the claimant’s lower
extremities and hips, Dr. Goli noted normal range of motion, normal knees
with no swelling, and normal ankle examination. Regarding the lower
extremities, Dr. Goli found normal reflexes, good sensory function, and
good motor power.
Williams asserts that the ALJ’s reliance on Dr. Goli’s findings when determining
she has the residual functional capacity to perform light work is not supported by
substantial evidence because the ALJ failed to consider the consultative rheumatologist’s
opinion in its entirety. Specifically, Williams argues that the ALJ failed to consider Dr.
Goli’s opinion that she would be limited to occasional climbing, balancing, kneeling and
stooping and may occasionally be around unprotected heights, moving vehicles, and
mechanical parts. (R. 13).
An ALJ is required to independently assess a claimant’s residual functional
capacity “based upon all of the relevant evidence.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1545(a)(3) (“We will
assess your residual functional capacity based on all of the relevant medical and other
evidence.”); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1546(c) (“If your case is at the administrative law judge
hearing level. . ., the administrative law judge . . . is responsible for assessing your
residual functional capacity.”). See also Lewis v. Callahan, 125 F.3d 1436, 1440 (11th
Cir. 1997) (“The residual functional capacity is an assessment, based upon all of the
relevant evidence, of a claimant’s remaining ability to do work despite his
impairments.”). “Residual functional capacity, or RFC, is a medical assessment of what
the claimant can do in a work setting despite any mental, physical or environmental
limitations caused by the claimant’s impairments and related symptoms. 20 C.F.R. §
416.945(a).” Peeler v. Astrue, 400 Fed. Appx. 492, 494 n.2 (11th Cir. 2010).
The court cannot conclude that the ALJ’s omission of Dr. Goli’s specific findings
concerning postural restrictions establishes that the ALJ’s determination that Williams
has the residual functional capacity to perform light work is not supported by substantial
evidence. “’An ALJ’s failure to cite specific evidence does not indicate that such
evidence was not considered.’” Ward v. Astrue, No. 1:11cv147-TFM, 2012 WL 607642,
*9 (M.D. Ala. 2012) (quoting McCray v. Massanari, 175 F.Supp.2d 1329, 1336 (M.D.
The ALJ gave considerable weight to the opinion of the consultative
rheumatologist because his conclusions were more “accurately reflected by the overall,
credible objective evidentiary record.”
Moreover, Williams conveniently
ignores the parts of Dr. Goli’s opinion indicating that she is not as disabled as alleged,
including his findings that she has complete normal range of motion, is able to frequently
carry or lift an 11 to 20 pound box, and does not require the use of a cane to ambulate.
(R. 264-267). In addition, the jobs identified the vocational expert require no more than
occasional climbing, balancing, stooping, kneeling, and crawling, and do not include any
moving mechanical parts or hazards.
See DOT #237.367-018; 920.687-018; 211.462-
Pursuant to the substantial evidence standard, this court’s review is a limited one;
the entire record must be scrutinized to determine the reasonableness of the ALJ’s
findings. Lowery v. Sullivan, 979 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1992). The ALJ evaluated all
the evidence before her which led her to conclude that Williams can perform light work.
It is not the province of this court to reweigh evidence, make credibility determinations,
or substitute its judgment for that of the ALJ. Instead the court reviews the record to
determine if the decision reached is supported by substantial evidence.
Barnhart, 405 F.3d 108, 1211 (11th Cir. 2005). Substantial evidence “is less than a
preponderance, but rather such relevant evidence as a reasonable person would accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.” Id. Given this standard of review, the court concludes
that the ALJ’s residual functional capacity assessment is consistent with the medical
evidence as a whole. After a careful examination of the administrative record, the court
concludes that substantial evidence supports the conclusion of the ALJ concerning
Williams’ residual functional capacity to perform light work.
The court has carefully and independently reviewed the record and concludes that
substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s conclusion that Plaintiff is not disabled. Thus,
the court concludes that the decision of the Commissioner is supported by substantial
evidence. Accordingly, it is
ORDERED that the decision of the Commissioner be and is hereby AFFIRMED.
Done this 3rd day of February, 2014.
/s/Terry F. Moorer
TERRY F. MOORER
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?