United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER 
Russ Walker United States Magistrate Judge
Michael Holmes commenced this action on May 1, 2018, pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking judicial review of a
final adverse decision of the Commissioner denying his
application for Supplemental Security Income insurance
benefits (“SSI”). See Doc. 1; Doc. 13.
In his application protectively filed February 24, 2015,
plaintiff alleged disability as of February 15, 2014, because
of “6 bulging discs, 3 nerve bundles damaged,
compressed spine, ” “back injury, ”
“depression, ” “nerve damage, ”
“can[']t walk, ” “frustration
can[']t complete simple task, ” “in pain so I
am always in a bad mood (anger), ” “no feeling in
complete left leg, ” “compressed spine, ”
“6 bulging and ruptured disc[s], ” and
“pain so bad I usually pass out falling on my
face.” See R. 106-11, 137. On May 3, 2017,
Administrative Law Judge David L. Horton (“the
ALJ”) issued an adverse decision after holding a
hearing on March 6, 2017, on the plaintiff's
application. See R. 17-28, 32- 43. The Appeals
Council denied plaintiff's request for review on January
29, 2018, and the ALJ's decision became the final
decision of the Commissioner. See R. at 1-6.
instant appeal, plaintiff asks the court to reverse the
Commissioner's adverse decision and award benefits or, in
the alternative, remand this cause to the Commissioner under
sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). See Doc.
13 at 13-14. This case is ripe for review pursuant to 42
U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3). The parties have
consented to entry of final judgment by the Magistrate Judge.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c); see also Docs.
9, 10. For the reasons stated herein, and based upon its
review of the record, the court finds that the
Commissioner's decision is due to be affirmed.
addition, plaintiff moves for an award of reasonable
attorney's fees pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice
Act (“EAJA”), 28 U.S.C. § 241(d).
See Doc. 13 at 13. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 54(d)(2)(B), the plaintiff also requests an
extension of time to file a motion for attorney's fees
under 42 U.S.C. § 406(b). See id. These motions
will be denied.
court's review of the Commissioner's decision is
narrowly circumscribed. The function of this court is to
determine whether the decision of the Commissioner is
supported by substantial evidence and whether proper legal
standards were applied. Richardson v. Perales, 402
U.S. 389, 390 (1971); Wilson v. Barnhart, 284 F.3d
1219, 1221 (11th Cir. 2002). This court must
“scrutinize the record as a whole to determine if the
decision reached is reasonable and supported by substantial
evidence.” Bloodsworth v. Heckler, 703 F.2d
1233, 1239 (11th Cir. 1983). Substantial evidence is
“such relevant evidence as a reasonable person would
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.”
Id. It is “more than a scintilla, but less
than a preponderance.” Id. A reviewing court
“may not decide facts anew, reweigh the evidence, or
substitute [its] decision for that of the
[Commissioner].” Dyer v. Barnhart, 395 F.3d
1206, 1210 (11th Cir. 2005). In other words, this court is
prohibited from reviewing the Commissioner's findings of
fact de novo, even where a preponderance of the
evidence supports alternative conclusions.
the court must uphold factual findings that are supported by
substantial evidence, it reviews the ALJ's legal
conclusions de novo because no presumption of
validity attaches to the ALJ's determination of the
proper legal standards to be applied. Davis v.
Shalala, 985 F.2d 528, 531 (11th Cir. 1993). If the
court finds an error in the ALJ's application of the law,
or if the ALJ fails to provide the court with sufficient
reasoning for determining that the proper legal analysis has
been conducted, it must reverse the ALJ's decision.
Cornelius v. Sullivan, 936 F.2d 1143, 1145-46 (11th
qualify for SSI, a claimant must be disabled as defined by
the Social Security Act and the Regulations promulgated
thereunder. The Regulations define “disabled” as
“the inability to do 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 twelve (12) months.” 20 C.F.R. §
416.905(a). To establish an entitlement to disability
benefits, a claimant must provide evidence about a
“physical or mental impairment” that “must
result from anatomical, physiological, or psychological
abnormalities which can be shown by medically acceptable
clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques.” 20
C.F.R. § 416.908.
Regulations provide a five-step process for determining
whether a claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
416.920(a)(4)(i-v). The Commissioner must determine in
(1) whether the claimant is currently employed;
(2) whether the claimant has a severe impairment;
(3) whether the claimant's impairment meets or equals an
impairment listed by the Commissioner;
(4) whether the claimant can perform his or her past work;
(5) whether the claimant is capable of performing any work in
the national economy.
Pope v. Shalala, 998 F.2d 473, 477 (7th Cir. 1993)
(citing to a formerly applicable C.F.R. section),
overruled on other grounds by Johnson v. Apfel, 189
F.3d 561, 562-63 (7th Cir. 1999); accord McDaniel v.
Bowen, 800 F.2d 1026, 1030 (11th Cir. 1986). The
sequential analysis goes as follows:
Once the claimant has satisfied steps One and Two, [he] will
automatically be found disabled if [he] suffers from a listed
impairment. If the claimant does not have a listed impairment
but cannot perform [his] work, the burden shifts to the
[Commissioner] to show that the claimant can perform some
Pope, 998 F.2d at 477; accord Foote v.
Chater, 67 F.3d 1553, 1559 (11th Cir. 1995). The
Commissioner must further show that such work exists in the