Triplett v. Commissioner, Social Security Administration
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Inge P Johnson on 1/16/13. (ASL)
2013 Jan-16 PM 04:19
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
RHONDA HOUK TRIPLETT,
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE,
Commissioner of Social Security
This matter is before the court on the record and brief of the Commissioner.1
This court has jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405. The plaintiff is seeking
reversal or remand of the final decision of the Commissioner. All administrative
remedies have been exhausted.
Plaintiff filed her application for Disability Insurance Benefits on January
27, 2009, alleging a disability onset of September 15, 2008, which was amended
to January 20, 2009 (R. 29, 45-46), due to problems from back pain, numbness in
right arm, scoliosis and arthritic changes in lumbar spine, hypertension, chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), anxiety and panic disorder (R. 143). The
The Commissioner filed a brief in support of the Commissioner’s decision (doc. 9). The
plaintiff failed to file a brief with this court in support of her position. However, the record
before the court does contain plaintiff’s brief to the Appeals Council (R. 183-190). The court
notes that said brief refers to the treatment records of a Dr. McCord (R. 185). The record does
not include any treatment records of a Dr. McCord. The court also notes that said brief refers to
a Ms. Hendrix as the claimant (R. 188). The plaintiff/claimant in this case is Rhonda Triplett.
application was denied initially and after hearing before an Administrative Law
Judge (ALJ). The ALJ’s determination became the final decision when the
Appeals Council denied plaintiff’s request for review. (R. 1-3)
The court’s role in reviewing claims brought under the Social Security Act
is a narrow one. The scope of its review is limited to determining: 1) whether
there is substantial evidence in the record as a whole to support the findings of the
Commissioner, and 2) whether the correct legal standards were applied. See
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 390, 401, 91 S. Ct. 1420, 28 L. Ed. 843
(1971); Lamb v. Bowen, 847 F.2d 698, 701 (11th Cir. 1988). The court may not
decide facts, reweigh evidence, or substitute its judgment for that of the
Commissioner. See Bloodsworth v. Heckler, 703 F.2d 1233, 1239 (11th Cir. 1983).
However, this limited scope does not render affirmance automatic,
for “despite [this] deferential standard for review of claims ... [the]
court must scrutinize [the] record in its entirety to determine the
reasonableness of the decision reached.” Bridges v. Bowen, 815 F.2d
622 (11th Cir. 1987).
Lamb, 847 F.2d at 701. Moreover, failure to apply the correct legal standards is
grounds for reversal. See Bowen v. Heckler, 748 F.2d 629, 634 (11th Cir. 1984).
Based upon the court’s evaluation of the evidence submitted to and adduced
at the hearing before the Administrative Law Judge and considered by him and the
Appeals Council, the court is satisfied that the decision of the Administrative Law
Judge is based upon substantial evidence and that the Administrative Law Judge
applied the correct legal standard to each issue presented. Accordingly, the
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration will be
affirmed by separate order.
DONE and ORDERED this 16th day of January 2013.
INGE PRYTZ JOHNSON
SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
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