Franklin v. Social Security Administration, Commissioner
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins on 9/25/2013. (JLC)
2013 Sep-25 AM 08:59
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
DOROTHY JEAN FRANKLIN,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,
Case No.: 5:12-CV-57-VEH
Plaintiff Dorothy Jean Franklin (“Franklin”) brings this action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), Section 205(g) of the Social Security Act. She seeks review of a final
adverse decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“Commissioner”), who denied her application for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”). Ms. Franklin timely pursued and exhausted her administrative remedies
Carolyn W. Colvin was named the Acting Commissioner on February 14, 2013. See
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pressoffice/factsheets/colvin.htm (“On February 14, 2013, Carolyn
W. Colvin became the Acting Commissioner of Social Security.”) (last accessed on September
16, 2013). Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), “[a]ny action instituted in accordance with this subsection
shall survive notwithstanding any change in the person occupying the office of Commissioner of
Social Security or any vacancy in such office.” Accordingly, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and
Rule 25(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court has substituted Carolyn W. Colvin
for Michael Astrue in the case caption above and HEREBY DIRECTS the clerk to do the same
party substitution on CM/ECF.
available before the Commissioner. The case is thus ripe for review under 42 U.S.C.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Franklin was forty-three years old at the time of her hearing before the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). (Tr 31, 88). Her past work experience includes
employment as an oil board operator, tube straightener, press operator, nurses aid,
chicken processor, and fast food worker. (Tr. 156-162). She claims she became
disabled on September 17, 2007, due to high blood pressure, bladder problems,
interstitial cystitis, cellulitis, arthritis, back pain, and obesity. (Tr. 37-41, 140). Her
last period of work ended in June of 2009. (Tr. 36). On September 25, 2007, Ms.
Franklin protectively filed a Title II application for a period of disability and DIB.
(Tr. 88). She also protectively filed a Title XVI application for SSI on that date. (Tr
93). Both applications stated that her disability began on September 17, 2007. (Tr
88, 93). On October 2, 2007, the Commissioner denied the plaintiff’s claim for SSI
benefits. (Tr 54). On December 6, 2007, the Commissioner denied the plaintiff’s
disability claim. (Tr. 53). On December 12, 2007, Ms. Franklin timely filed a written
request for a hearing on her disability benefits only. (Tr 68). The ALJ conducted a
hearing on the matter on March 29, 2010. (Tr 14). On May 25, 2010, the ALJ issued
her opinion concluding Ms. Franklin was not disabled and denying her benefits. (Tr.
22). On November 16, 2010, Ms. Franklin timely petitioned the Appeals Council to
review the decision. (Tr. 10). On November 9, 2011, the Appeals Council issued a
denial of review on her claim. (Tr. 1-6). Thus the ALJ’s decision became the
Commissioner’s final disability determination.
Ms. Franklin filed a Complaint with this court on January 6, 2012, seeking
review of the Commissioner’s determination. (Doc. 1). The Commissioner answered
on July 9, 2012. (Doc. 6). On July 9, 2012, the Clerk of Court notified Ms. Franklin,
through her counsel of record, that she had “45 days in which to submit to the Court
any brief, argument, list of authorities or other statement.” (Doc. 7). However, she
filed no briefs in support of her claim.2 On September 24, 2012, the Commissioner
filed a brief in support of the decision to deny benefits. (Doc. 8). With the time for
briefing now closed, the court has carefully considered the record and reverses the
decision of the Commissioner.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The court’s review of the Commissioner’s decision is narrowly circumscribed.
The function of this court is to determine whether the decision of the Commissioner
The parties to Social Security appeals are not required to file briefs, which highlights the
court’s independent obligation on appeal to scrutinize the record below for error under a de novo
review. See Walden v. Schweiker, 672 F.2d 835, 838 (11th Cir. 1982) (discussing the district
court’s independent “responsibility to scrutinize the record in its entirety to ascertain whether
substantial evidence supports each essential administrative finding”).
is supported by substantial evidence and whether proper legal standards were applied.
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 390 (1971); Wilson v. Barnhart, 284 F.3d 1219,
1221 (11th Cir. 2002). This court must “scrutinize the record as a whole to determine
if the decision reached is reasonable and supported by substantial evidence.”
Bloodsworth v. Heckler, 703 F.2d 1233, 1239 (11th Cir. 1983). Substantial evidence
is “such relevant evidence as a reasonable person would accept as adequate to support
a conclusion.” Id. It is “more than a scintilla, but less than a preponderance.” Id.
This court must uphold factual findings that are supported by substantial
evidence. However, it reviews the ALJ’s legal conclusions de novo because no
presumption of validity attaches to the ALJ’s determination of the proper legal
standards to be applied. Davis v. Shalala, 985 F.2d 528, 531 (11th Cir. 1993). If the
court finds an error in the ALJ’s application of the law, or if the ALJ fails to provide
the court with sufficient reasoning for determining that the proper legal analysis has
been conducted, it must reverse the ALJ’s decision. Cornelius v. Sullivan, 936 F.2d
1143, 1145-46 (11th Cir. 1991).
STATUTORY AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
To qualify for disability benefits and establish his or her entitlement for a
period of disability, a claimant must be disabled as defined by the Social Security Act
and the Regulations promulgated thereunder.3 The Regulations define “disabled” as
“the inability to do 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
twelve (12) months.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1505(a). To establish an entitlement to
disability benefits, a claimant must provide evidence about a “physical or mental
impairment” which “must result from anatomical, physiological, or psychological
abnormalities which can be shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory
diagnostic techniques.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1508.
The Regulations provide a five-step process for determining whether a claimant
is disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(i-v). The Commissioner must determine in
whether the claimant is currently employed;
whether the claimant has a severe impairment;
whether the claimant’s impairment meets or equals an impairment listed
by the [Commissioner];
whether the claimant can perform his or her past work; and
The “Regulations” promulgated under the Social Security Act are listed in 20 C.F.R.
Parts 400 to 499, revised as of April 1, 2007.
whether the claimant is capable of performing any work in the national
Pope v. Shalala, 998 F.2d 473, 477 (7th Cir. 1993) (citing to formerly applicable
C.F.R. section), overruled on other grounds by Johnson v. Apfel, 189 F.3d 561, 56263 (7th Cir. 1999); accord McDaniel v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 1026, 1030 (11th Cir. 1986).
The sequential analysis goes as follows:
Once the claimant has satisfied steps One and Two, she will automatically be
found disabled if she suffers from a listed impairment. If the claimant does not
have a listed impairment but cannot perform her work, the burden shifts to the
[Commissioner] to show that the claimant can perform some other job.
Pope, 998 F.2d at 477; accord Foote v. Chater, 67 F.3d 1553, 1559 (11th Cir. 1995).
The Commissioner must further show that such work exists in the national economy
in significant numbers. Id.
FINDINGS OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE
After consideration of the entire record, the ALJ made the following findings:
Ms. Franklin met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act
through December 31, 2013.
Ms. Franklin engaged in substantial gainful activity from September 17, 2007,
the alleged date of onset of her disability, through June 2009.
There was a continuous 12-month period during which the claimant did not
engage in substantial gainful activity.
Ms. Franklin had the following severe impairments: osteoarthritis and morbid
Ms. Franklin does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that
meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 1.
Ms. Franklin had the residual functioning capacity (“RFC”) to perform
sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(a) except that she must be
allowed brief access to the restroom every 2 to 2 ½ hours.
Ms. Franklin was unable to perform any past relevant work.
Ms. Franklin was born on December 18, 1966, and was 40 years old, which is
defined as a younger individual age 18-44, on the alleged disability onset date.
Ms. Franklin had a limited education and is able to communicate in English.
Transferability of job skills was not material to the determination of disability
because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supported a
finding that Ms. Franklin was “not disabled,” whether or not she had
transferable job skills.
Considering Ms. Franklin’s age, education, work experience, and residual
functioning capacity, there were jobs that existed in significant numbers in the
national economy that she could perform.
Ms. Franklin had not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security
Act, from September 17, 2007, through the date of her decision.
The court may only reverse a finding of the Commissioner if it is not supported
by substantial evidence. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). “This does not relieve the court of its
responsibility to scrutinize the record in its entirety to ascertain whether substantial
evidence supports each essential administrative finding.” Walden v. Schweiker, 672
F.2d 835, 838 (11th Cir. 1982) (citing Strickland v. Harris, 615 F.2d 1103, 1106 (5th
However, the court “abstains from reweighing the evidence or
substituting its own judgment for that of the [Commissioner].” Id. (citation omitted).
Because the plaintiff has filed no brief, she has argued no specific points of
error by the Commissioner. Nevertheless, as analyzed more fully below, the ALJ’s
determination that Ms. Franklin is able to perform sedentary work is not supported
by substantial evidence because:
1) The ALJ fails to clarify what weight, if any, she gives to the medical
Strickland is binding precedent in this Circuit. See Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d
1206, 1209 (11th Cir. 1981) (en banc) (adopting as binding precedent all decisions of the former
Fifth Circuit handed down prior to October 1, 1981).
evidence that she discusses in her opinion and also appears to violate the
Eleventh Circuit’s rules regarding treatment of medical opinions; and
2) The ALJ fails to clarify that she has considered all of Ms. Franklin’s
impairments both separately and collectively in formulating her residual
Therefore, and under the circumstances of Ms. Franklin’s case, the court concludes
that the Commissioner has committed reversible error.
THE ALJ’S TREATMENT OF THE MEDICAL EVIDENCE
CONSTITUTES REVERSIBLE ERROR
It is well settled in the Eleventh Circuit that an ALJ must state specifically the
weight accorded each item of evidence and the reasons for his decision. See, e.g.,
Cowart v. Schweiker, 662 F.2d 731, 735 (11th Cir. 1981) (“What is required is that
the ALJ state specifically the weight accorded to each item of evidence and why he
reached that decision.”); Cowart, 662 F.2d at 735 (“In the absence of such a
statement, it is impossible for a reviewing court to determine whether the ultimate
decision on the merits of the claim is rational and supported by substantial
evidence.”); Hudson v. Heckler, 755 F.2d 781, 785 (11th Cir. 1985) (“The decision
rendered by the ALJ also does not make clear the weight accorded the evidence
considered.”); Ryan v. Heckler, 762 F.2d 939, 942 (11th Cir. 1985) (“We cannot,
however, conduct a review that is both limited and meaningful if the ALJ does not
state with sufficient clarity the legal rules being applied and the weight accorded the
evidence considered.” (citing Owens v. Heckler, 748 F.2d 1511 (11th Cir. 1984))).
With respect to an ALJ’s consideration of medical opinions more specifically,
the following framework applies:
In assessing the medical evidence in this case, the ALJ was required to
state with particularity the weight he gave the different medical opinions
and the reasons therefor. MacGregor v. Bowen, 786 F.2d 1050, 1053
(11th Cir. 1986). Further, he was required to accord considerable
weight to appellant’s treating physician’s opinion absent good cause for
not doing so. Broughton v. Heckler, 776 F.2d 960, 961–62 (11th Cir.
985) (per curiam). The opinions of nonexamining, reviewing
physicians, such as those of Drs. Thomas and Register, when contrary
to those of the examining physicians, are entitled to little weight, and
standing alone do not constitute substantial evidence. See Spencer ex
rel. Spencer v. Heckler, 765 F.2d 1090, 1094 (11th Cir. 1985) (per
curiam). Of course, the ALJ may reject any medical opinion if the
evidence supports a contrary finding. Sryock v. Heckler, 764 F.2d 834,
835 (11th Cir. 1985) (per curiam).
The ALJ, here, disregarded these rules in assigning weight to the
various medical opinions. The only opinions that indicated that
appellant could meet the medium work requirements of 20 C.F.R.
404.1567(c) (1986) were those of the nonexamining physicians, Drs.
Thomas and Register. Their opinions were entitled to little weight,
however, and could not serve as substantial evidence.
Shafarz v. Bowen, 825 F.2d 278, 279-80 (11th Cir. 1987).
The ALJ ran afoul of these requirements when she determined which of the
plaintiff’s impairments were “severe,” and when she determined the plaintiff’s
residual functional capacity.
The ALJ found Plaintiff’s osteoarthritis and obesity were severe impairments.
panniculitis/cellulitis, a history of interstitial cystitis, headaches, and fibromyalgia)
were not severe. (Tr. 17). In making this determination, the ALJ discussed the
plaintiff’s treatment with Dr. Kirk L. Jackson, Dr. Paul J. Zbell, Dr. Gregory S.
Cheatham, Dr. K. Dean Willis, Dr. Ahmad G. Shikhtholth, Dr. Shelinder Aggarwal,
and Dr. Vijay Jampala.5 However, the ALJ did not state what weight she assigned to
the evidence relating to these doctors.
Next, in determining the plaintiff’s residual functional capacity, the ALJ found
that “the claimant’s statements concerning the intensity, persistence and limiting
effects of these symptoms are not credible to the extent they are inconsistent with the
above residual functional capacity assessment.” (Tr 18). The ALJ also found that
“[t]he medical evidence shows the claimant has underlying medical conditions, but
is does not support her allegations of severe and chronic pain and limitation of
function to the degree that it would preclude the performance of all substantial gainful
activity.” (Tr 19). However, in making these determinations, the ALJ fails to discuss
most of the evidence noted in the preceding paragraph, instead discussing only
evidence relating to Dr. Jampala, a non-treating physician, and Dr. Cheatham, a
The ALJ specifically noted that three of these physicians, Drs. Willis, Aggarwal, and
Cheatham, were treating physicians.
As to Dr. Jampala, the ALJ again does not explain what weight she gives this
evidence. Apparently she gave it substantial weight, because she found that the
plaintiff’s complaints of severe and substantial pain were “inconsistent” with Dr.
Jampala’s exam “which shows her only current, active problem appears to be either
cellulitis or panniculitis, neither of which is disabling.” (Tr 19).
Thereafter, the ALJ stated that she “rejects the disabling opinion of Dr.
Cheatham, who stated that the claimant frequently will need rest periods during the
day to walk about or lie down to relieve pain.” (Tr 19)(citing Tr 343). Importantly,
absent good cause to the contrary, the Commissioner must accord substantial or
considerable weight to the treating physician's opinion. Lamb v. Bowen, 847 F.2d
698, 703 (11th Cir. 1988); Walker v. Bowen, 826 F.2d 996, 1000 (11th Cir. 1987);
Sharfarz v. Bowen, 825 F.2d 278, 279-80 (11th Cir. 1987); MacGregor v. Bowen, 786
F.2d 1050, 1053 (11th Cir. 1986); Ortega v. Chater, 933 F. Supp. 1071, 1074 (S.D.
Fla. 1996) (citing Edwards v. Sullivan, 937 F.2d 580, 583 (11th Cir. 1991), Swindle
v. Sullivan, 914 F.2d 222, 226 n.3 (11th Cir. 1990)); Chester v. Bowen, 792 F.2d 129,
131 (11th Cir. 1986); Giddens v. Chater, Case No. 95-148-1-MAC (CWH), 1996 WL
392143 at *2 (M.D. Ga. Feb. 23, 1996). The only reason given by the ALJ for
rejecting Dr. Cheatham’s opinion is that “[t]he assessment of Dr. Cheatham is
inconsistent with the minimal objective clinical findings of record.” (Tr 19). While
the Commissioner discusses these findings in her brief,6 the ALJ failed to point to any
specific clinical findings, examinations, or other medical opinions in reaching this
conclusion. Such conclusory dismissals of a treating physician’s opinion are error.
See, Borden v. Astrue, 494 F. Supp.2d 1278, 1283-84 (N.D. Ala. 2007) (Guin J.)
(ALJ’s only stated reason for discounting the treating doctor’s opinion that it was
“inconsistent with his own objective clinical findings” was not good cause).
Further, the ALJ failed to discuss or assign weight (whether great or small) to
the other opinions of Dr. Cheatham. As noted by the Commissioner in her brief:
Dr. Cheatham opined Plaintiff could sit for seven hours, stand two
hours, and walk one to two hours in an eight-hour workday; lift and
carry ten pounds occasionally and five pounds or less frequently; and
push and pull frequently with her hands, arms, legs and feet (Tr.
341-42). He also identified some manipulative, postural and
environmental limitations (Tr. 342). Dr. Cheatham opined Plaintiff
would need rest periods to walk about or lie down to relieve pain and
Plaintiff’s physical examinations after her alleged September 17, 2007 disability
onset date (Tr. 88) were primarily unremarkable (Tr. 199, 258, 338, 347-53, 366,
368, 371, 373, 377, 384, 391, 397, 410, 421-22, 428, 442-43, 451). Aside from
occasional back tenderness (Tr. 338), they reflected she had a normal back
inspection (Tr. 199, 384, 397, 421), she could move all extremities well, she was
neurologically intact (Tr. 258, 347-53, 366, 368, 373, 377, 391, 442-43), she had
normal 5/5 motor strength, and she had negative straight leg raising test (Tr. 338).
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of her lower spine was also “normal” (Tr.
(Doc. 8 at 9).
would likely miss more than three or more days per month (Tr. 343).Dr.
Cheatham also opined that the plaintiff had “chronic” and
“[continuous]” pain as a result of her medical condition. (Tr 343). He
classified her pain as “moderately severe,” and stated that a “muscle
spasm” is an objective sign of her pain. (Tr 343).
(Doc. 8 at 10). None of these opinions were discussed or assigned weight by the
ALJ.7 The failure to address Dr. Cheatham’s opinion that the plaintiff would likely
be absent from work three or more days per month is particularly troublesome
because, at the vocational hearing, the vocational expert testified that missing three
or more days of work per month would prevent the plaintiff from working. (Tr 50).
Finally, the ALJ discussed no other physical capacity assessments, or other opinions
which conflict with Dr. Cheatham’s statements. This was error, as an ALJ may not
arbitrarily reject uncontroverted medical testimony. Walden v. Schweiker, 672 F.2d
835, 839 (11th Cir. 1982) (citing Goodley v. Harris, 608 F.2d 234, 236 (5th Cir.
Because the ALJ did not correctly consider the record evidence, her opinion
must be reversed.8
The Commissioner states that “[t]he ALJ also considered the physical capacities opinion
of Dr. Cheatham and gave it little weight.” (Doc. 8 at 10). As shown above, the ALJ assigned
no weight to the physical capacities evaluation, and only discussed (and rejected) “the disabling
opinion of Dr. Cheatham, who stated that the claimant frequently will need rest periods during
the day to walk about or lie down to relieve pain.” (Tr 19)(citing Tr 343).
The Commissioner argues that Dr. Cheatham’s opinion was conclusory, and therefore
could be rejected on that basis. That was not one of the reasons cited by the ALJ for rejecting Dr.
THE COURT CANNOT VERIFY WHETHER THE ALJ CONSIDERED
ALL OF MS. FRANKLIN’S IMPAIRMENTS SINGULARLY OR IN
COMBINATION WHEN FORMULATING HER RESIDUAL
In determining the plaintiff’s residual functional capacity, the ALJ was
required to consider the claimant’s entire medical condition, including impairments
she determined were not severe. See Burgin v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 420 F. App’x
901, 902 (11th Cir. 2011) (unpublished disposition); see also 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(e)
(The Commissioner considers all the claimant’s impairments when determining a
claimant’s RFC at steps four and five of the sequential evaluation); Davis v. Shalala,
985 F.2d 528, 532 (11th Cir. 1993) (“If the Secretary finds, at step two, ‘a medically
severe combination of impairments, the combined impact of the impairments will be
considered throughout the disability determination process.’” (quoting 20 C.F.R. §
416.923)); Reeves v. Heckler, 734 F.2d 519, 525 (11th Cir. 1984) (“20 C.F.R. §
404.1522 (1983) requires the ALJ to consider the combination of a claimant’s
impairments. The reason for this is so obvious that it requires no discussion . . .
[T]his failure to follow the regulations requires that the case be remanded for further
consideration under the appropriate standards”).
In Hudson, the Eleventh Circuit succinctly explained this rule relating to
Cheatham’s opinion, and the Commissioner cannot substitute its brief for the ALJ’s findings.
Appellant does correctly contend, however, that the Secretary did
not follow her own regulations. In making her disability determination
the ALJ found that appellant had the following impairments: obesity,
chronic low back pain (no etiology established), chronic intermittent
hypertension, a mild to moderate dysthymic disorder, and a histrionic
personality disorder. The ALJ decided that separately none of these
impairments was so severe as to render appellant disabled. The ALJ,
however, did not consider whether the combination of appellant’s
impairments rendered her disabled. Where a “claimant has alleged a
multitude of impairments, a claim . . . may lie even though none of the
impairments, considered individually, is disabling.” Bowen v. Heckler,
748 F.2d 629, 635 (11th Cir.1984). The ALJ, therefore, has a duty to
consider the impairments in combination. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1522
(1984). Failure to do so requires that the case be vacated and remanded
for the proper consideration.
755 F.2d at 785 (footnote omitted) (emphasis added).
In this case, in determining residual functional capacity, the ALJ never
expressly states in her analysis that she is considering the impact of each one of Ms.
Franklin’s impairments both singularly and collectively. Instead, she generally finds
that “the claimant’s statements concerning the intensity, persistence and limiting
effects of these symptoms are not credible.” (Tr 18). The ALJ’s analysis contains no
specific listing or specific discussion of the symptoms of each disorder, nor even a
discussion of why the plaintiff says these impairments prevent her from working.
Further, the ALJ does not discuss the physical impact of each of these disorders
separately, and in combination. When discussing the plaintiff’s residual functional
capacity, the ALJ discusses only the plaintiff’s subjective complaints of pain, but no
other symptoms. Further, the ALJ fails to explain which disorders cause the plaintiff
pain, or how the plaintiff says the pain limits her ability to work. (Tr 18-19).
In Gibson v. Heckler, 779 F.2d 619 (11th Cir. 1986), the Eleventh Circuit
reversed an ALJ’s finding that the claimant was not disabled because the ALJ failed
to consider all impairments singularly and in combination. See Gibson, 779 F.2d at
623 (“This court agrees that the ALJ failed to consider each impairment alleged by
Mrs. Gibson and the combined effect of those impairments.”). As the Eleventh
Circuit further explained in Gibson, the ALJ “did not discuss whether these claimed
impairments were sufficiently severe—either singularly or in combination—to create
a disability.” Id.; see also Strickland v. Harris, 615 F.2d 1103, 1110 (5th Cir. 1980)
(“The ALJ addressed certain of the claimant’s complaints separately, tending to
minimize them . . . , but he devoted no discussion and made no factfindings as to
disability indicated as arising from the interaction or cumulation of even those
medical problems whose existence he acknowledged or did not rule out.”).9
The court rejects the Commissioner’s contention that the ALJ’s general and
conclusory statements that she considered “the entire record,” and “all symptoms” is
Strickland is binding precedent in this Circuit. See Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661
F.2d 1206, 1209 (11th Cir. 1981) (en banc) (adopting as binding precedent all decisions of the
former Fifth Circuit handed down prior to October 1, 1981).
sufficient. (Doc. 8 at 6) (citing Tr. 18). Because the court cannot verify from the
record before it that the ALJ considered all of Ms. Franklin’s impairments, singularly
or collectively, in making her residual functional capacity determination, the
Commissioner’s final decision is not supported by substantial evidence, and the case
is due to be remanded for further development of the record for this alternative
Based upon the court’s evaluation of the evidence in the record and the parties’
submissions, the court finds that the Commissioner did not apply proper legal
standards in reaching a final decision. Accordingly, the decision will be reversed and
remanded by separate order.
DONE and ORDERED this the 25th day of September, 2013.
VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS
United States District Judge
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