United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
NUBYL A. ALLEYNE, Plaintiff,
NANCY BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
F. BIVINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Nubyl A. Alleyne (hereinafter “Plaintiff”), seeks
judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security denying her 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 19, 2018, the parties consented to have
the undersigned conduct any and all proceedings in this case.
(Doc. 20). 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
filed her applications for benefits on February 24, 2015,
alleging disability beginning November 20, 2014, based on
spinal disease in lower back, nerve damage in left leg, and
high blood pressure. (Doc. 12 at 200, 222, 226).
Plaintiff's application was denied and upon timely
request, she was granted an administrative hearing before
Administrative Law Judge L. Dawn Pischek (hereinafter
“ALJ”) on February 10, 2016. (Id. at
65). Plaintiff attended the hearing with her attorney and
provided testimony related to her claims. (Id. at
68). A vocational expert (“VE”) also appeared at
the hearing and provided testimony. (Id. at 77). On
August 19, 2016, the ALJ conducted a supplemental hearing.
(Id. at 49). Plaintiff again attended the hearing
with her attorney and provided testimony related to her
claims. (Id. at 52). A vocational expert
(“VE”) also appeared at the supplemental hearing
and provided testimony. (Id. at 60-61). On December
16, 2016, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision finding that
Plaintiff is not disabled. (Id. at 25). The Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on August
30, 2017. (Id. at 5). Therefore, the ALJ's
decision dated December 16, 2016, became the final decision
of the Commissioner.
exhausted her administrative remedies, Plaintiff timely filed
the present civil action. (Doc. 1). Oral argument was
conducted on November 8, 2018. (Doc. 23). 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 December 2, 1975, and was forty years of age at
the time of her administrative hearing on February 10, 2016.
(Doc. 12 at 65, 222). Plaintiff graduated from high school
and completed two years of college. (Id. at 69).
Plaintiff last worked from 1998 to 2010 as a Certified
Nursing Assistant for a hospital and home health service.
(Id. at 69, 227, 241).
testified that she can no longer work because of back and
left leg pain and that she is unable to bend or lift.
(Id. at 69-71). Plaintiff testified that, at times,
she needs a walker to make sure that she does not trip.
(Id. at 70-74). She also takes pain medication but
continues to have pain and side effects, such as headaches
and disorientation. (Id. at 55, 57, 72).
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 Regulatory Framework
individual who applies for Social Security disability
benefits must prove his or her disability. 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1512, 416.912. Disability is defined as the
“inability 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 12 months.” 42 U.S.C.
§§ 423(d)(1)(A); see also 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1505(a), 416.905(a). The Social Security