Moses v. Berryhill (S.D. Fla. Sept. 21, 2017) (Magistrate Judge Lurana S. Snow)

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

Issues Briefed:

  1. 1)  The ALJ erred in her assessment of Ms. Moses’s subjective complaints and credibility.

  2. 2)  The ALJ’s assessment of the medical opinions of record is unsustainable.

  3. 3)  The ALJ’s conclusion that Ms. Moses can sustain the performance of her past work is also erroneous.

The ALJ accorded little weight to the opinion of the Plaintiff’s treating physician and, instead, relied on the residual functional capacity assessment of the non-examining physician who never addressed the limitations resulting from Plaintiff’s carpal tunnel syndrome. Slip op. at 13. “The ALJ dealt with this critical omission by inserting her own assessment that the Plaintiff had the ability to finger, handle and feel frequently.” Id. The court held that the ALJ failed to articulate good cause for according little weight to the opinion of Plaintiff's treating physician as “ALJ failed to establish that Dr. Buhler’s opinion was not supported by the evidence, that the evidence supported a contrary finding, or that the opinion was conclusory or inconsistent with Dr. Buhler's own medical records.” Id.

Regarding the ALJ’s credibility and RFC finding, the court noted that the “ALJ found the Plaintiff to be less than fully credible and assessed her residual functional capacity based on the same reasoning the ALJ employed in evaluating the opinion of [claimant’s treating physician].” Id. “On remand, the Plaintiff's credibility and the determination of whether she can perform her past relevant work should be reassessed after the ALJ has reconsidered the weight to be accorded to the opinions of the treating, examining and reviewing physicians.” Id.