Christie v. Commissioner of Social Security
OPINION AND ORDER re: Docket Entry 16, Joint Memorandum. 1.The Commissioner's final decision in this case is REVERSED AND REMANDED for further proceedings consistent with the findings of this Order. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to enter judgment in favor of Plaintiff and CLOSE the file. Signed by Magistrate Judge Embry J. Kidd on 11/18/2020. (JLE)
Case 6:19-cv-01998-EJK Document 21 Filed 11/18/20 Page 1 of 3 PageID 1571
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
ROBERT JOSEPH CHRISTIE,
Case No: 6:19-cv-1998-Orl-EJK
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL
Plaintiff, Robert Joseph Christie, brings this action pursuant to Titles II and XVI of the
Social Security Act (the “Act”), as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 423, and 1382, to obtain judicial
review of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the
“Commissioner”) denying his claim for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security
Income under the Act. (Doc. 1.) The Court has reviewed the record, including the transcript of the
proceedings before the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), the ALJ’s decision, the administrative
record, and the pleadings and memoranda submitted by the parties. (Docs. 12, 16.) The Court heard
oral argument on November 18, 2020. (Doc. 19.)
Plaintiff raised two issues on appeal: first, whether the ALJ applied the correct legal
standards to the opinions of his treating physicians, Eduardo Ysern, Ph.D., and Mariposa McCall,
M.D.; and second, whether the ALJ applied the correct legal standards to Plaintiff’s testimony
regarding his limitations. (Doc. 16.) The ALJ rejected Drs. Ysern’s and McCall’s opinions because
(1) they were formed when Plaintiff was not complying with his medical treatment; (2) the doctors
reported that Plaintiff had no deficits in cognitive functioning, while experiencing significant
Case 6:19-cv-01998-EJK Document 21 Filed 11/18/20 Page 2 of 3 PageID 1572
improvements in his sleep and appetite; and (3) Plaintiff had the ability to perform activities of
daily life, some of which would require him to drive or otherwise leave his home. (Tr. 606.)
For the reasons stated on the record, the undersigned finds that the ALJ’s reasons for
discounting both doctors’ opinions were not supported by substantial evidence. Specifically, the
ALJ failed to articulate good cause for discounting the opinions of Plaintiff’s treating physicians,
which warrants a remand. See Gendron v. Astrue, No. 8:11-cv-701-T-23MAP, 2012 WL 2872844,
at *1 (M.D. Fla. July 12, 2012) (reversing the Commissioner’s decision because the Commissioner
failed to give appropriate weight to the testimony of the treating physicians); Jones v. Astrue, No.
8:09-CV-1945-T-17TGW, 2010 WL 4168868, at *1 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 18, 2010) (reversing because,
inter alia, the ALJ did not have good cause to discount the opinions of the treating physicians);
Smith v. Colvin, No. 1:15-23010-CIV-GOODMAN, 2016 WL 5369305, at *7 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 26,
2016) (finding that the ALJ’s failure to assign great weight to the treating physician absent good
cause was sufficient to warrant a remand).
Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that:
1. The Commissioner’s final decision in this case is REVERSED AND REMANDED
for further proceedings consistent with the findings of this Order. On remand, the ALJ
shall re-evaluate the opinions of Drs. Eduardo Ysern, Ph.D., and Mariposa McCall,
M.D., and either assign them great weight or articulate good cause for discounting their
opinions, particularly the opinions noted in the parties’ briefing and at oral argument.
2. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to enter judgment in favor of Plaintiff and CLOSE
Case 6:19-cv-01998-EJK Document 21 Filed 11/18/20 Page 3 of 3 PageID 1573
DONE and ORDERED in Orlando, Florida on November 18, 2020.
Copies furnished to:
Counsel of Record
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?