United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
WALLACE CAPEL, JR., UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Caldwell (“Plaintiff”) filed applications for a
period of disability and disability insurance benefits and
for supplemental security income on September 14, 2009. The
applications were denied at the initial administrative level.
Plaintiff then requested and received a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). Following the
hearing, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision, and the
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's 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). Plaintiff then challenged
the Commissioner's decision in this court. On June 18,
2014, the undersigned Magistrate Judge entered an order and
judgment reversing the Commissioner's decision and
remanding for further proceedings. See Caldwell v.
Colvin, Civ. No. 3:13-cv-201-WC (Doc. 24, June 18,
2014). On remand, the ALJ conducted a second hearing and
accepted additional evidence into the record. A f t e r t h e
s e c o n d h e a r i n g, t h e A L J i s s u e d a d e c i
s i o n f i n d i n g t h a t Plaintiff had not been under a
disability during the relevant period. Plaintiff appealed
that decision to the Appeals Council, which rejected his
request for review. Thus, the ALJ's decision on remand
once again stands as the final decision of the Commissioner.
The case is now before the court for review of that decision
under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(c), both parties have consented to the conduct of all
proceedings and entry of a final judgment by the undersigned
United States Magistrate Judge. Pl.'s Consent to
Jurisdiction (Doc. 11); Def.'s Consent to Jurisdiction
(Doc. 10). Based on the court's review of the record and
the briefs of the parties, the court AFFIRMS the decision of
STANDARD OF REVIEW
42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A), a person is entitled to
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
42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A).
this determination, the Commissioner employs a five-step,
sequential evaluation process. See 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520, 416.920 (2011).
(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 [the Listing of Impairments]?
(4) Is the person unable to perform his or her former
(5) Is the person unable to perform any other work within the
economy? 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
McDaniel v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 1026, 1030 (11th Cir.
burden of proof rests on a claimant through Step Four.
See Phillips v. Barnhart, 357 F.3d 1232, 1237-39
(11th Cir. 2004). A claimant establishes a prima
facie case of qualifying disability once they have
carried the burden of proof from Step One through Step Four.
At Step Five, the burden shifts to the Commissioner, who must