Carter v. Social Security Administration, Commissioner
MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER DISMISSING CASE that the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED and costs are taxed against claimant as more fully set out in order. Signed by Judge C Lynwood Smith, Jr on 4/14/2014. (AHI )
2014 Apr-14 PM 03:43
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
HENRY LOUIS CARTER,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting
Commissioner, Social Security
Case No. CV-13-S-936-NE
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Claimant, Henry Louis Carter, commenced this action on May 16, 2013,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking judicial review of a final adverse decision of
the Commissioner, affirming the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”),
and thereby denying his claim for a period of disability and disability insurance
The court’s role in reviewing claims brought under the Social Security Act is
a narrow one. The scope of review is limited to determining whether there is
substantial evidence in the record as a whole to support the findings of the
Commissioner, and whether correct legal standards were applied. See Lamb v. Bowen,
847 F.2d 698, 701 (11th Cir. 1988); Tieniber v. Heckler, 720 F.2d 1251, 1253 (11th
Claimant contends that the Commissioner’s decision is neither supported by
substantial evidence nor in accordance with applicable legal standards. Specifically,
claimant asserts that the ALJ improperly determined his residual functional capacity
without the benefit of a medical source opinion or an assessment by a medical expert.
Upon review of the record, the court concludes that this contention lacks merit, and
that the Commissioner’s ruling is due to be affirmed.
It is true that the ALJ
has an obligation to develop a full and fair record, even if the claimant
is represented by counsel. Cowart v. Schweiker, 662 F.2d 731, 735 (11th
Cir. 1981). The ALJ is not required to seek additional independent
expert medical testimony before making a disability determination if the
record is sufficient and additional expert testimony is not necessary for
an informed decision. Wilson v. Apfel, 179 F.3d 1276, 1278 (11th Cir.
1999) (holding the record, which included the opinion of several
physicians, was sufficient for the ALJ to arrive at a decision); Holladay
v. Bowen, 848 F.2d 1206, 1209-10 (11th Cir. 1988) (holding the ALJ
must order a consultative exam when it is necessary for an informed
Nation v. Barnhart, 153 F. App’x 597, 598 (11th Cir. 2005) (emphasis supplied).1
Furthermore, claimant bears the ultimate burden of producing evidence to support his
disability claim. See Ellison v. Barnhart, 355 F.3d 1272, 1276 (11th Cir. 2003) (citing
20 C.F.R. §§ 416.912(a), (c)).
The court concludes that the record in this case was sufficient, even absent any
Even claimant acknowledges that “there is no express requirement for an MSO or RFC
assessment to be of record in order for the ALJ to make RFC findings.” Doc. no. 9 (claimant’s
brief), at 5.
additional consultative report or medical source statement, for the ALJ to arrive at an
informed decision. The medical record includes office notes from claimant’s treating
providers, the report of a consultative examiner,2 and claimant’s own testimony that
he could return to his previous job as a forklift operator.3
In light of the foregoing, the court concludes the ALJ’s decision was based
upon substantial evidence and in accordance with applicable legal standards.
Accordingly, the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED. Costs are taxed
against claimant. The Clerk is directed to close this file.
DONE this 14th day of April, 2014.
United States District Judge
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