Bayles v. Social Security Administration, Commissioner
MEMORANDUM OPINION - For the reasons set forth above, the Commissioners decision is REVERSED, and this action REMANDED for further proceedings consistent with this Memorandum Opinion. A separate order will be entered. Signed by Magistrate Judge John H England, III on 3/30/2017. (KEK)
2017 Mar-30 PM 01:39
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
FELICIA M. BAYLES,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY
Case No.: 5:16-cv-00054-JHE
Plaintiff Felicia M. Bayles (“Bayles”) seeks review, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), §
205(g) of the Social Security Act, of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (“Commissioner”), denying her application for a period of disability, disability
insurance benefits (“DIB”), and supplemental security income (“SSI”).2 (Doc. 1). Bayles timely
pursued and exhausted her administrative remedies. This case is therefore ripe for review under
42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3). The undersigned has carefully considered the record and, for the
reasons stated below, the Commissioner’s decision is REVERSED and this action is
REMANDED for further administrative proceedings.
I. Factual and Procedural History
Bayles protectively filed applications for a period of disability, DIB, and SSI on June 13,
2012, alleging she became unable to work beginning May 15, 2011. (Tr. 204-215). The Agency
In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 73, the parties have voluntarily consented to have a United States Magistrate Judge
conduct any and all proceedings, including trial and the entry of final judgment. (Doc. 14).
The judicial review provisions for a DIB claims, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), apply to claims for
SSI. See 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3).
denied her claims initially, and Bayles requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”). (Tr. 73, 110-118). Bayles attended the hearing on February 4, 2014, during which the
ALJ determined that further medical evidence was needed. (Tr. 50-70). Therefore, on May 20,
2014, Bayles attended a second hearing at which the ALJ received testimony from a medical
expert. (Tr. 33-44). After the hearing, the ALJ found that Bayles was not under a disability at any
time through the date of the decision. (Tr. 25).
Bayles then requested review of the ALJ’s decision by the Appeals Council. (Tr. 6, 8).
The Appeals Council denied Bayles’s request for review, making the ALJ’s decision the final
decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-3). Following denial of review by the Appeals Council,
Bayles filed a complaint in this court seeking reversal or remand of the Agency’s decision. (Doc.
II. Standard of Review3
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 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).
In general, the legal standards applied are the same whether a claimant seeks DIB or
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). However, separate, parallel statutes and regulations exist
for DIB and SSI claims. Therefore, citations in this opinion should be considered to refer to the
appropriate parallel provision as context dictates. The same applies to citations for statutes or
regulations found in quoted court decisions.
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 supported by substantial evidence. “Substantial
evidence may even exist contrary to the findings of the ALJ, and [the reviewing court] may have
taken a different view of it as a factfinder. Yet, if there is substantially supportive evidence, the
findings cannot be overturned.” Barron v. Sullivan, 924 F.2d 227, 230 (11th Cir. 1991). However,
the Court 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 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).
III. 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.4 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 entitlement to disability
benefits, a claimant must provide evidence of a “physical or mental impairment” which “must
The “Regulations” promulgated under the Social Security Act are listed in 20 C.F.R. Parts
400 to 499.
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 sequence:
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
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 the formerly applicable C.F.R.
section), overruled on other grounds by Johnson v. Apfel, 189 F.3d 561, 562-63 (7th Cir. 1999);
accord McDaniel v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 1026, 1030 (11th Cir. 1986). “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 such work exists in the national economy in significant numbers. Id.
IV. Findings of the Administrative Law Judge
At Step One, the ALJ concluded that Bayles had not engaged in substantial gainful
employment since May 15, 2011, her original alleged onset date. 5 (Tr. 17). At Step Two, the ALJ
determined that Bayles suffered from the medically determinable impairments of disc bulge,
Prior to her hearing, Bayles amended her alleged onset date to January 16, 2013. (Tr.
52, 231). However, in his decision, the ALJ repeatedly referred to May 15, 2011, as Bayles’
alleged onset date.
degenerative changes of the lumbar spine, depression, and anxiety. (Tr. 17). The ALJ specifically
rejected Bayles’ diagnosis of fibromyalgia as an impairment (id.), and then concluded that Bayles
did not have any severe impairments. (Tr. 20). Because the ALJ found Bayles had no severe
impairments, he did not reach Steps Three through Five. 6 Specifically, the ALJ did not consider
whether any of Bayles’ impairments, alone or in combination, met or medically equaled one of the
listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1; did not determine a residual
functional capacity, and did not consider whether any work existed in the national economy Bayles
Bayles contends the ALJ failed to evaluate her complaints of pain in a manner consistent
with the Eleventh Circuit Pain standard. (Doc. 10 at 4). Additionally, she asserts the ALJ’s
decision finding that she does not suffer from any severe impairment is “irrational and  not
supported by substantial evidence.” (Id. at 5). Having reviewed the record, the court finds
insufficient evidence to support the ALJ’s determination that Bayles has no severe impairments.
The Commissioner’s decision will be reversed and remand for further proceedings.
At her first hearing, Bayles testified she was fifty-five years old and had completed the
tenth grade.7 (Tr. 51). She was asked what was her “worst problem,” to which she responded “I
The regulations state: “[I]f you do not have any impairment or combination of
impairments which significantly limits your physical or mental ability to do basic work activities,
we will find that you do not have a severe impairment and are, therefore, not disabled. We will
not consider your age, education, and work experience.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(c); 20 C.F.R. §
416.920(c). “An impairment can be considered as not severe only if it is a slight abnormality
which has such a minimal effect on the individual that it would not be expected to interfere with
the individual’s ability to work, irrespective of age, education, or work experience.” Brady v.
Heckler, 724 F.2d 914, 920 (11th Cir. 1984); see also 20 C.F.R. § 404.1521(a); 20 C.F.R. §
At the first hearing, Bayes’ counsel suggested Bayles might meet Grid rules 201.01,
hurt 24/7.” (Tr. 55). She explained her back hurts, her right leg stays numb, and she has pinched
nerves. (Id.). Bayles described pain radiating from her back into her right hip and leg. (Tr. 56).
Additionally, Bayles explained her pain from fibromyalgia was qualitatively different than from
pain in her back, with the former causing a burning, stinging, “the nerve endings . . . constantly
like they’re on fire,” and painful skin and muscles, while the latter is “very intense.” (Tr. 57). She
further stated she was in pain sitting in the hearing and that she could only sit or stand for less than
thirty minutes each. (Tr. 56, 59). Moreover, Bayles listed a minimal range of housework she
could perform without assistance. (Tr. 60-61). She testified about her problems with anxiety and
depression. (Tr. 63, 65). Also at the first hearing, a vocational expert testified that Bayles’ prior
work was in the light to medium and unskilled to semiskilled range. (Tr. 69-70).
At the second hearing, a medical expert (“ME”), who had reviewed Bayles’ medical
records, noted Bayles had physical pain all over, but normal reflexes and a reasonable range of
motion. (Tr. 35). He further noted that the long-term treatment plan for Bayles was “pretty heavy
doses of oxycontin,” which was “not a good strategy” in his opinion. (Tr. 35). The ME stated he
did not believe any objective basis for any physical limitations existed. (Tr. 35). The ME
acknowledged the February 2012 MRI, which reflected a broad-based disc protrusion at L5 S1,
but opined that “a lot of them will resolve after a year has gone by” so Bayles should not have any
limitations from this. (Tr. 36). In contrast, the VE testified that a doctor’s recommendation that
Bayles should avoid manipulation of the lumbar spine, avoid excessive extension and flexion, get
massages, rest and apply heat for fifteen to twenty minutes every two to four hours would preclude
all employment. (Tr. 44).
201.02, 202.04 or 202.06. (Tr. 52).
The medical records reflect that in October 2011, Bayles’ treating physician referred her
to a rheumatologist for a consultation due to her chronic joint pain. 8 (Tr. 297, 304). Dr. Robert
Hunt noted that all of Bayles’ muscles were 1+ tender, she described symptoms which sounded
like dysautonomia,9 and in combination with Bayles’ myofascial pain “certainly suggests the
possibility of fibromyalgia subset characterized by all of the above.” 10 (Tr. 300). Bayles has also
been followed by Dr. Usha Nuthi, a neurologist, since November 2011. (Tr. 367). As noted by
the ALJ, in January 2012, Bayles reported “I feel GREAT!” (Tr. 363). However, the March 2012
record reflects Bayles was crying due to back pain and had been seen in the emergency room for
the increased pain, radiating to her right leg. (Tr. 361, 434, 437). In May, Bayles complained of
increased back leg pain. (Tr. 359). In June and July 2012, she reported no change in pain, but
stated she had to take more Lortab than what was prescribed for relief. 11 (Tr. 357, 450). In June
Dr. William Myers, Bayles’ treating physician, also referred her to the Alabama Pain
Clinic, but Bayles could not afford the $868.00 initial visit fee. (Tr. 305).
The Mayo Clinic describes dysautonomia as follows:
Autonomic nerve disorders (dysautonomia) refer to disorders of autonomic nervous
system (ANS) function. Dysautonomia is a general term used to describe a
breakdown or abnormal function of the ANS. The autonomic nervous system
controls much of your involuntary functions. Symptoms are wide-ranging and can
include problems with the regulation of heart rate, blood pressure, body
temperature, perspiration, and bowel and bladder functions. Other symptoms
include fatigue, lightheadedness, feeling faint or passing out (syncope), weakness,
and cognitive impairment.
As Dr. Hunt is a rheumatologist, the record contradicts the ALJ’s determination that
Bayles “has not been seen by a rheumatologist.” (Tr. 22).
The record also contradicts the ALJ’s finding that Bayles stated in her June 5, 2012
visit that she was feeling great and that her depression and muscle spasm had improved. (Tr.
18). Moreover, while the ALJ found Bayles made similar comments in her March 27, 2011 visit,
Dr. Nuthi noted Bayles had a swollen leg, but Bayles reported her fibromyalgia was stable, and
her depression and muscle spasms were improved. (Tr. 357).
Dr. Nuthi also noted Bayles’
reported that her symptoms worsen with activities of daily living, and recorded that her symptoms
were severe and appeared to be worsening. (Tr. 357). From March through July 2012, Bayles
was noted to have body aches, chronic myofascial pain, depression, fatigue, joint pain (multiple
sites) leg cramps, loss of balance, morning stiffness in her joints, muscle spasms, numbness in her
upper and lower extremities, radiating pain, reduced exercise tolerance, shoulder cramps, and sleep
disturbances. (Tr. 357, 361, 450). Straight leg raise was positive, but Bayles’ reflexes and strength
were normal. (Id.). Dr. Nuthi repeatedly diagnosed Bayles with fibromyalgia and low back pain.
(Id.). Her recommendations included cancelling unnecessary activities, avoiding manipulation of
the lumbar spine, avoiding excessive extension and flexion of the spine, getting massages, and
using heat on the affected areas for fifteen to twenty minutes at a time, every two to four hours.
(Tr. 358, 451).
An MRI on April 27, 2012, revealed at L4-5 disc desiccation and annular bulge, without
herniation, plus mild facet joint degenerative changes with joint effusions, at L5-S1 found a broad
central disc protrusion coupled with mild facet joint hypertrophic degenerative change narrowing
the lateral recesses and appearing to impinge on the right S1 nerve root; an extruded fragment
extending inferior to the interspace level and into the right 5-1 foramen, producing moderate
foraminal narrowing; and noted a possible slight flattening of the right L5 root. (Tr. 369).
Dr. Nuthi’s records reflect Bayles’s first visit to her was November 22, 2011. (Tr. 367). While
Bayles was seen on March 27, 2012, those records reflect Bayles was crying due to her lower
back pain (tr. 361), which is not consistent with reporting she felt great. Finally, on December
20, 2011, the other date on which the ALJ incorrectly finds Bayles reported she felt great, Dr.
Nuthi’s records reflect Bayles reported her depression as improved and her fibromyalgia as
improving, but noted Bayles’s complaints of continued pain. (Tr. 365).
In August 2012, Dr. Myers noted Bayles suffers from chronic pain. (Tr. 387). Upon mental
consultative examination in September 2012, John Haney, Ph.D., believed Bayles suffered from
major depressive disorder, recurrent and moderate; anxiety disorder with panic features; and pain
disorder. (Tr. 372). Dr. Haney opined that Bayles’s functioning in most jobs would be moderately
to severely impaired due to physical, emotional, and vocational limitations. (Tr. 372). The ALJ
assigned “little weight” to Dr. Haney’s opinion on the basis that Bayles received treatment for
depression and anxiety through a neurologist or general practitioner, rather than a psychiatrist or
psychologist. (Tr. 23). Also in September 2012, physical consultative examiner Dr. Marlin Gill
offered no opinion as to Bayles’s ability to engage in work related activities, but did observe that
Bayles had a normal gait, could get on and off and exam table unassisted, had full range of motion,
and normal muscle strength. (Tr. 375). Bayles complained of pain in her back but could squat
and walk on her toes. (Tr. 375). Dr. Gill diagnosed Bayles with low back pain and fibromyalgia.
(Tr. 376). The ALJ failed to assign any weight to Dr. Gill’s opinion.
In September 2012, Bayles complained to Dr. Nuthi of her fibromyalgia “acting up.” (Tr.
454). The following month, Bayles reported greater fatigue and pain, so Dr. Nuthi increased
Bayles’s prescription for Cymbalta to try to better manage the fibromyalgia symptoms. (Tr. 457).
November 2012 records note Bayles complained it hurt to walk and her low back pain had
increased to a severe intensity. (Tr. 459-460). She asked for stronger pain medication. (Tr. 459).
Dr. Nuthi commented that Bayles’s symptoms appeared to be worsening. (Tr. 460). In February
2013, Bayles was in a car wreck. (Tr. 503). A CT of her cervical spine at that time found
degenerative changes, a reversal of the normal lordotic curve, and osteophyte formation at C5/C6.
(Tr. 507). Dr. Nuthi again noted a worsening of Bayles’s fibromyalgia. (Tr. 468).
In March 2013, Bayles reported her fibromyalgia symptoms were stable, but in April 2013,
Bayles yet again reported worsening symptoms and increased pain and depression. (Tr. 471-475).
In April through June 2013, Dr. Nuthi recommended Bayles engage in regular, low impact exercise
three times a week, one to two times a day for twenty to forty minutes at a time and use cold or
hot packs as needed. (Tr. 476, 479, 482). The August 2013 record reflects that Bayles’s gait was
abnormal, and her list of problems expanded to include pain in limb, low back pain, cervicalgia,
other acquired torsion dystonia, multiple sclerosis NOS, and fibromyalgia. (Tr. 484). The ALJ
failed to assign any weight as to the opinion of Dr. Nuthi.
At the beginning of 2014, Bayles was seen by Dr. Melanie Gardner. (Tr. 492). Bayles
complained of back pain, muscle pain and right side leg weakness/numbness. (Tr. 493). She was
also noted to be anxious and fearful. (Tr. 493). Her gait was noted to be slow and cautious. (Tr.
493). Bayles was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, back pain, anxiety, and depression. (Tr. 494).
The ALJ failed to assign any weight to the opinion of Dr. Gardner.
Bayles has also been followed at a pain clinic since March 2014, where she receives
oxycodone for pain. (Tr. 511). She was noted to walk bent forward, but with good balance and
strength in her legs. (Tr. 512). Her first two drug screens were positive for substances other than
oxycodone, she was warned about self-medicating, and her subsequent screens were clear. (Tr.
The record contradicts the ALJ’s determination that Bayles’ medically diagnosed
impairments are not severe, and the substantial evidence directs the exact opposite conclusion.
The overwhelming weight of the evidence supports a finding that Bayles’s impairments would
cause “more than minimal” limitations. See e.g., McDaniel v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 1026, 1031 (11th
Cir. 1986) (“An impairment is not severe only if the abnormality is so slight and its effect so
minimal that it would clearly not be expected to interfere with the individual’s ability to work,
irrespective of age, education or work experience. Claimant need show only that her impairment
is not so slight and its effect is not so minimal.”).
To reach his conclusion, the ALJ relied on Dr. Haynes, the ME at the hearing, to the
exclusion of all other evidence and medical opinions in the record. Dr. Haynes testified (1) Bayles
had no neurological deficits, (2) Bayles’ “long term plan was a hefty dose of Hydrocodone; (3) the
broad based disc protrusion should repair itself; and (4) MRI findings require correlation with
physical findings for support, which were lacking here. (Tr. 21). The ALJ then found Bayles’
statements concerning the severity of her pain to be non-credible because she tested positive for
THC in March 2014. (Tr. 22). As stated above, the ALJ’s conclusion that Bayles has not been
seen by a rheumatologist (tr. 22) is refuted by the rheumatologist’s records. Moreover, Bayles’
doctor’s decision to treat her diagnosed medical problems with medication is not equivalent, as
stated by the ALJ, to Bayles’s “only long-term plan . . . to increase her medication” and that this
somehow “negates the severity of the claimant’s condition.” 12 (Tr. 22).
Compounding the ALJ’s errors was his insistence that Bayles exhibited no objective
evidence of fibromyalgia. Specifically, he stated that Bayles produced evidence of an underlying
medical condition, but no objective evidence of the severity of the pain. (Tr. 22). However, in
considering claims of disability based on fibromyalgia, the Eleventh Circuit has specifically ruled
that “[b]ecause the impairment’s hallmark is thus a lack of objective evidence, we reversed an
ALJ’s determination that a fibromyalgia claimant’s testimony was incredible based on the lack of
objective evidence documenting the impairment.” Moore v. Barnhart, 405 F.3d 1208, 1211 (11th
This statement is both unsupported and illogical. Bayles has not made a unilateral
decision to increase various medications she has been prescribed. Rather, the doctors whose care
she is under have made this decision because of Bayles’ level of pain. The increased dosages of
medications prescribed by her doctors actually support the level of severity Bayles alleged.
Cir. 2005) (citing Stewart v. Apfel, 245 F.3d 793 (11th Cir. 2000) (unpublished)). See also Todd
v. Heckler, 736 F.2d 641, 642 (11th Cir. 1984) (explaining that pain alone may be disabling and
that it is improper for an ALJ to require objective medical evidence to support a claim of disabling
pain); Robinson v. Astrue, 365 Fed.App’x 993, 997 (11th Cir. 2010) (“The ALJ cannot discredit
testimony as to the intensity or persistence of pain and fatigue solely based on the lack of objective
medical evidence.”). Under facts quite similar to those presented to the ALJ here, the Eleventh
We also find unpersuasive the ALJ’s only other stated reason for discounting Dr.
Barakat’s RFC, namely, that the limitations imposed therein “are based primarily
upon [Somogy’s] subjective complaints” . . . We, along with several other courts,
have recognized that fibromyalgia “often lacks medical or laboratory signs, and is
generally diagnosed mostly on an individual’s described symptoms,” and that the
“hallmark” of fibromyalgia is therefore “a lack of objective evidence.” Moore v.
Barnhart, 405 F.3d 1208, 1211 (11th Cir. 2005) (per curiam); see also Rogers v.
Comm’r of Social Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 243 (6th Cir. 2007) (stating that
“fibromyalgia patients present no objectively alarming signs”); Green–Younger v.
Barnhart, 335 F.3d 99, 108 (2d Cir. 2003) (explaining that “there are no objective
tests which can conclusively confirm [fibromyalgia]” (quotation marks and citation
omitted)); Sarchet v. Chater, 78 F.3d 305, 306 (7th Cir. 1996) (noting that “[t]here
are no laboratory tests for the presence or severity of fibromyalgia”) . . . . Given the
nature of fibromyalgia, a claimant’s subjective complaints of pain are often the only
means of determining the severity of a patient’s condition and the functional
limitations caused thereby. See [Green-Younger, 335 F.3d] at 107. In this case, the
record shows that Somogy consistently reported symptoms of fibromyalgia,
including, inter alia, chronic muscle pain, severe fatigue, pain upon palpation of
tender points, insomnia, jaw pain/tenderness, numbness in the legs and feet,
dizziness, and depression, both before and after diagnosis, and that Somogy’s
physicians consistently noted and credited these complaints. Other than a lack of
objective medical findings, there is nothing in the record to suggest that Somogy
did not suffer the degree of pain she reported or that her doctors should have
disbelieved her complaints. See, e.g., Rose v. Shalala, 34 F.3d 13, 18 (1st Cir.
1994) (ALJ’s finding that claimant’s fatigue did not significantly affect his RFC
was not supported by substantial evidence where “examining physicians’ reports,
over a period of more than 18 months, consistently noted (and credited) claimant’s
complaints of persistent fatigue” and the record contained no “meaningful evidence
to support a finding that claimant did not suffer from a significant level of fatigue
on a regular basis”). As we have already explained, however, “the nature of
fibromyalgia itself renders . . . over-emphasis upon objective findings
inappropriate.” Rogers, 486 F.3d at 248; see also Green–Younger, 335 F.3d at 108–
09 (lack of physical abnormalities did not undercut claimant's complaints of pain
since physical examinations of fibromyalgia patients “will usually yield normal
results”). Rather, the credibility of Somogy’s complaints of disabling pain are
bolstered by evidence that she made numerous visits to her doctors over the course
of several years, underwent numerous diagnostic tests, and was prescribed
numerous medications. See Rogers, 486 F.3d at 248 (ALJ erred in discrediting
claimant’s complaints of pain where ALJ “focus[ed] on purely objective evidence”
and failed “to discuss or consider the lengthy and frequent course of medical
treatment or the nature and extent of that treatment, the numerous medications
Rogers has been prescribed, the reasons for which they were prescribed, or the side
effects Rogers testified she experiences from those medications”) . . . .
Somogy v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 366 F. App'x 56, 63–65 (11th Cir. 2010). Under this guidance,
the ALJ’s rejection of at least four separate medical doctors’ diagnosis of fibromyalgia, given the
level of care they provided, is unsupported by the record and thus erroneous.
In consideration of the foregoing, the Commissioner’s decision will be reversed and
remanded for further proceedings, because the opinion of the ALJ is not supported by substantial
evidence, and the ALJ failed to apply the proper legal standards in his consideration of the
evidence, including consideration of whether the Medical-Vocational guidelines require a finding
of “disabled” if Bayles is limited to light or sedentary work. The ALJ should reconsider and
reweigh all of the evidence in the record upon remand.
For the reasons set forth above, the Commissioner’s decision is REVERSED, and this
action REMANDED for further proceedings consistent with this Memorandum Opinion.
A separate order will be entered.
DONE this 30th day of March, 2017.
JOHN H. ENGLAND, III
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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