United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
BILLY J. BUXTON, Plaintiff,
NANCY BERRYHILL,  Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
F. BIVINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Billy J. Buxton (hereinafter “Plaintiff”) seeks
judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security denying his claim for a period of disability,
disability insurance benefits, and supplemental security
income under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act, 42
U.S.C. §§ 401, et seq., and 1381, et
seq. On October 5, 2017, the parties consented to have
the undersigned conduct any and all proceedings in this case.
(Doc. 18). Thus, the action was referred to the undersigned
to conduct all proceedings and order the entry of judgment in
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 73. Upon careful consideration of the
administrative record and the memoranda of the parties, it is
hereby ORDERED that the decision of the
Commissioner be AFFIRMED.
Procedural History 
filed his application for benefits on April 30, 2013,
alleging disability beginning March 1, 2011, based on
learning disability, hip problems, and knee problems. (Doc.
12 at 181, 188, 201, 204). Plaintiff's application was
denied and upon timely request, he was granted an
administrative hearing before Administrative Law Judge Renee
Blackmon Hagler (hereinafter “ALJ”) on May 20,
2015. (Id. at 44). Plaintiff attended the hearing
with his counsel and provided testimony related to his
claims. (Id.). A vocational expert
(“VE”) also appeared at the hearing and provided
testimony. (Id.). On June 5, 2015, the ALJ issued an
unfavorable decision finding that Plaintiff is not disabled.
(Id. at 29). The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review on September 1, 2016.
(Id. at 5). Therefore, the ALJ's decision dated
June 5, 2015, became the final decision of the Commissioner.
exhausted his administrative remedies, Plaintiff timely filed
the present civil action. (Doc. 1). Oral argument was
conducted on October 26, 2017 (Doc. 21), and the parties
agree that this case is now ripe for judicial review and is
properly before this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§
405(g) and 1383(c)(3).
Issues on Appeal
substantial evidence supports the ALJ's finding that
Plaintiff's bursitis of the hip was non-severe?
substantial evidence supports the ALJ's assignment of
little weight to the opinions of Plaintiff's treating
substantial evidence supports the Residual Functional
the ALJ erred by failing to fully develop the record by
ordering consultative psychological and orthopedic
was born on September 28, 1964, and was fifty years of age at
the time of his administrative hearing on May 20, 2015. (Doc.
12 at 44, 49). Plaintiff was in regular classes in school but
only completed the fifth grade. (Id. at 49-50).
Plaintiff reported that he cannot read or write, but he can
make change for a twenty-dollar bill. (Id. at 50).
last worked from 2004 to 2010 at BAE Systems/Atlantic Marine
as a laborer, sand blaster, and painter. (Doc. 12 at 51-52).
Prior to that, he worked from 1989 to 2004 at Mitchell
Company in the area of ground maintenance and Henry Marine
Services on a tugboat as a deckhand. (Id. at 51-52;
Doc. 12 at 209).
testified that he can no longer work due to pain in his knees
and his hip. (Id. at 53). His medical treatment has
consisted of cortisone injections and medications such as
Ibuprofen, Celebrex, and Paxil, which have provided some
relief. (Id. at 53-55).
Standard of Review
reviewing claims brought under the Act, this Court's role
is a limited one. The Court's review is limited to
determining 1) whether the decision of the Secretary is
supported by substantial evidence and 2) whether the correct
legal standards were applied. Martin v. Sullivan, 894
F.2d 1520, 1529 (11th Cir. 1990). A court may not decide the
facts anew, reweigh the evidence, or substitute its judgment
for that of the Commissioner. Sewell v. Bowen, 792
F.2d 1065, 1067 (11th Cir. 1986). The Commissioner's
findings of fact must be affirmed if they are based upon
substantial evidence. Brown v. Sullivan, 921 F.2d
1233, 1235 (11th Cir. 1991); Bloodsworth v. Heckler,
703 F.2d 1233, 1239 (11th Cir. 1983) (holding substantial
evidence is defined as “more than a scintilla, but less
than a preponderance” and consists of “such
relevant evidence as a reasonable person would accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.”). In determining
whether substantial evidence exists, a court must view the
record as a whole, taking into account evidence favorable, as
well as unfavorable, to the Commissioner's decision.
Chester v. Bowen, 792 F.2d 129, 131 (11th Cir.
1986); Short v. Apfel, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10163,
*4 (S.D. Ala. June 14, 1999).
Statutory and ...