Alvarado-Bradley v. Berryhill (S.D. Fla. Jan. 6, 2017) (Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman)

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Included: Plaintiff’s Brief, Plaintiff’s Reply Brief, Report and Recommendation, and Order

Issues Briefed:

  1. 1)  The ALJ committed reversible error in failing to provide any reasons for her obvious rejection of the opinion of Dr. Sassoon, Ms. Bradley’s treating physician during the relevant period, whose opinion is consistent with the Commissioner’s policies for evaluating disability claims based on Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (“RSD”).

  2. 2)  The ALJ’s finding that Ms. Bradley can perform light work, with some non- exertional limitations is not based on substantial evidence because it fails to consider her need for a cane for ambulation due to her documented motor loss and it relies on the opinion of a non-examining Appeals Council medical expert whose opinion is directly contrary to the opinion of Dr. Sassoon, the treating provider.

  3. 3)  The ALJ’s credibility finding is not supported by substantial evidence.

  4. 4)  The ALJ’s finding that Ms. Bradley could perform other work during the relevant period cannot be sustained as the ALJ failed to comply with the Appeals Council’s directive to both pose hypothetical questions “established by the record as a whole” and “identify and resolve any conflicts between the occupational evidence provided by the [VE] and the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (“DOT”).

The court remanded this case, finding that the ALJ:

(1) erred in failing to specify the weight accorded to the treating physician; (2) erred in reaching the determination that Plaintiff had the RFC for limited light work during the relevant period; and (3) erred in determining, based on a hypothetical posed to the VE, that Plaintiff could perform other work during the relevant period.