United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
CHARLES S. COODY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
plaintiff applied for disability insurance benefits pursuant
to Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 401
et seq., alleging that he was unable to work because of a
disability. His application was denied at the initial
administrative level. The plaintiff then requested and
received a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”). Following the hearing, the ALJ also
denied the claim. The Appeals Council rejected a subsequent
request for review. The ALJ's decision consequently
became the final decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security (Commissioner). See Chester v. Bowen, 792 F.2d
129, 131 (11th Cir. 1986). The case is now before the court
for review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405 (g).
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties have
consented to entry of final judgment by the United States
Magistrate Judge. Based on the court's review of the
record in this case and the briefs of the parties, the court
concludes that the decision of the Commissioner should be
reversed and this case remanded to the Commissioner for
Standard of Review
42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A), a person is entitled to
disability benefits when the person is unable to
engage in 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
this determination the Commissioner employs a five step,
sequential evaluation process. See 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520, 416.920.
(1) Is the person presently unemployed?
(2) Is the person's impairment severe?
(3) Does the person's impairment meet or equal one of the
specific impairments set forth in 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt.
P, App. 1?
(4) Is the person unable to perform his or her former
(5) Is the person unable to perform any other work within the
An affirmative answer to any of the above questions leads
either to the next question, or, on steps three and five, to
a finding of disability. A negative answer to any question,
other than step three, leads to a determination of "not
McDaniel v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 1026, 1030 (11th Cir.
standard of review of the Commissioner's decision is a
limited one. This court must find the Commissioner's
decision conclusive if it is supported by substantial
evidence. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Ingram v. Comm. of
Soc. Sec. Admin., 496 F.3d 1253, 1260 (11th Cir. 2007).
“Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla, but
less than a preponderance. It is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable person would accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales,
402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971); Crawford v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 363 F.3d 1155, 1158-59 (11th Cir. 2004). A
reviewing court may not look only to those parts of the
record which supports the decision of the ALJ but instead
must view the record in its entirety and take account of
evidence which detracts from the evidence relied on by the
ALJ. Hillsman v. Bowen, 804 F.2d 1179, 1180 (11th
Cir. 1986). The court “may not decide the facts anew,
reweigh the evidence, or substitute . . . [its] judgment for
that of the [Commissioner].” Phillips v.
Barnhart, 357 F.3d 1232, 1240 n. 8 (11th Cir. 2004)
(alteration in original) (quotation marks omitted).
[The court must, however, ] . . . scrutinize the record in
its entirety to determine the reasonableness of the
[Commissioner's] . . . factual findings . . . No similar
presumption of validity attaches to the [Commissioner's]
. . . legal conclusions, including determination of the
proper standards to be applied in evaluating claims.
Walker v. Bowen, 826 F.2d 996, 999 (11th Cir. 1987).
plaintiff, Corderal Summers (“Summers”), was 23
years old on the alleged date of onset and 25 years old at
the time of the administrative hearing. (R. 27, 38).
a 12th grade education. (R. 27, 40). Summers' prior work
experience includes work as a customer service
representative. (R. 27). Following the administrative
hearing, the ALJ concluded that the plaintiff has the severe
impairment of “human immunodeficiency virus
(HIV).” (R. 21). Nonetheless, the ALJ concluded that
Summers was not disabled because he has the residual
functional capacity to perform sedentary work. Using the
Medical-Vocational Guidelines, 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt. P.,
App. 2, as a framework and relying on the testimony of a
vocational expert, the ALJ concluded that there were
significant number of jobs in the ...