United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
WALLACE CAPEL, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Eva Nell Foster (“Foster” or
“Plaintiff”) brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) seeking judicial
review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security (“Commissioner”) denying her application
for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits under the
Social Security Act. The Social Security Administration
denied Plaintiff's application initially and on
reconsideration. Tr. 23. Plaintiff timely requested a hearing
before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), and a
hearing was held on October 28, 2016. Tr. 37-64. The ALJ
rendered an unfavorable decision on April 27, 2017. Tr.
20-32. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review. Tr. 1-6. Plaintiff then filed this lawsuit seeking
judicial review of the Commissioner's decision.
See Compl. (Doc. 1). The parties have consented to
the exercise of jurisdiction by the Magistrate Judge pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. 636(c) for all proceedings in this Court. For
the reasons stated herein and based on its review of the
record, the Court finds that the Commissioner's decision
is due to be REVERSED and
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 12 months.
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
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.
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