United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
GEORGE E. SEYMOUR, JR., Plaintiff,
NANCY BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
F. BIVINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
George E. Seymour, Jr. (hereinafter “Plaintiff”),
seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner
of Social Security denying his claim for a period of
disability and disability insurance benefits under Title II
of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401,
et seq. On October 12, 2018, the parties consented
to have the undersigned conduct any and all proceedings in
this case. (Doc. 12). 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.
filed his application for benefits on June 16, 2015, alleging
disability beginning September 10, 2009, based on diabetes,
neuropathy, and spinal stenosis. (Doc. 8 at 182, 194, 207).
Plaintiff last met insured status on December 31, 2013.
(Id. at 23). Plaintiff's application was denied
and upon timely request, he was granted an administrative
hearing before Administrative Law Judge Robert Waller
(hereinafter “ALJ”) on November 21, 2016.
(Id. at 73). Plaintiff attended the hearing with his
attorney and provided testimony related to his claims.
(Id. at 77). A vocational expert (“VE”)
also appeared at the hearing and provided testimony.
(Id. at 108). On February 8, 2017, the ALJ issued an
unfavorable decision finding that Plaintiff is not disabled.
(Id. at 21). The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review on October 26, 2017.
(Id. at 6). Therefore, the ALJ's decision dated
February 8, 2017, became the final decision of the
exhausted his administrative remedies, Plaintiff timely filed
the present civil action. (Doc. 1). Oral argument was
conducted on November 16, 2018. (Doc. 15). 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).
Issue on Appeal
substantial evidence supports the Residual Functional
Capacity (“RFC”) for a range of sedentary work
with the stated restrictions?
was born on October 10, 1971, and was forty-five years of age
at the time of his administrative hearing on November 21,
2016. (Doc. 8 at 77, 194). Plaintiff graduated from Auburn
University with a degree in Health and Human Performance.
(Id. at 78-79).
last worked from 2006 to 2009 as a substitute teacher.
(Id. at 79). Prior to that, from 2002 to 2006, he
was employed as a pizza restaurant worker and from 1995 to
2002 as an assistant manager at a pizza restaurant.
(Id. at 80-82).
testified that he can no longer work because of problems with
his heart, back, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
(Id. at 83-85). Plaintiff testified that he had
surgery on his back in 2009, and this significantly
alleviated his back pain and eliminated the need for a
walker. (Id. at 85-88). Plaintiff also had heart
problems in 2009, which steadily improved with medication and
exercise. (Id. at 88-89). From 2009 to 2013,
Plaintiff's diabetes was managed with medication;
however, in 2014, some of his toes had to be amputated
because of non-healing diabetic ulcers. (Id. at
91-92). Plaintiff testified that it was hard for him to wear
shoes, and he got fatigued easily. (Id. at 100-01).
However, Plaintiff also testified that, during the period in
question, he exercised and walked about a mile, four or five
days a week. (Id. at 89, 103-04).
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 ...