United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CHRISTOPHER L. RAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Thomas Folmar seeks judicial review of the Social Security
Administration's denial of his application for Disability
Insurance (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
social security cases, courts
. . . review the Commissioner's decision for substantial
evidence. Winschel v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 631
F.3d 1176, 1178 (11th Cir. 2011). “Substantial evidence
is more than a scintilla and is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable person would accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Id. (quotation omitted). . . .
“We may not decide the facts anew, reweigh the
evidence, or substitute our judgment for that of the
Commissioner.” Winschel, 631 F.3d at 1178
(quotation and brackets omitted). “If the
Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial
evidence, this Court must affirm, even if the proof
preponderates against it.” Dyer v. Barnhart,
395 F.3d 1206, 1210 (11th Cir. 2005) (quotation omitted).
Mitchell v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., 771 F.3d
780, 782 (11th Cir. 2014).
burden of proving disability lies with the claimant.
Moore v. Barnhart, 405 F.3d 1208, 1211 (11th Cir.
2005). The ALJ applies
. . . a five-step, “sequential” process for
determining whether a claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)(1). If an ALJ finds a claimant disabled or not
disabled at any given step, the ALJ does not go on to the
next step. Id. § 404.1520(a)(4). At the first
step, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant is
currently engaged in substantial gainful activity.
Id. § 404.1520(a)(4)(i). At the second step,
the ALJ must determine whether the impairment or combination
of impairments for which the claimant allegedly suffers is
“severe.” Id. § 404.1520(a)(4)(ii).
At the third step, the ALJ must decide whether the
claimant's severe impairments meet or medically equal a
listed impairment. Id. § 404.1520(a)(4)(iii).
If not, the ALJ must then determine at step four whether the
claimant has the RFC to perform her past relevant work.
Id. § 404.1520(a)(4)(iv). If the claimant
cannot perform her past relevant work, the ALJ must determine
at step five whether the claimant can make an adjustment to
other work, considering the claimant's RFC, age,
education, and work experience. An ALJ may make this
determination either by applying the Medical Vocational
Guidelines or by obtaining the testimony of a [Vocational
Stone v. Comm'r. of Soc. Sec. Admin., 596 F.
App'x, 878, 879 (11th Cir. 2015) (footnote added).
who was 36 years old when his DIB and SSI claims were denied,
alleges disability beginning on November 29, 2012. Tr. 17
& 293. He has a high school education and past relevant
work experience as a trucker. Tr. 26 & 44. After a
hearing, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. Tr. 17-28.
He found that Folmar's status post-traumatic brain injury
and mild neurocognitive disorder constituted severe
impairments but did not meet or medically equal a Listing.
Tr. 19-21. The ALJ thus found that Folmar retained the RFC
for light work except he could only perform work with an
of 2 “involving few changes, no working at heights or
around hazardous machinery, only occasional driving, and no
climbing ladders, ropes, or scaffolds.” Tr. 22.
Plaintiff, he determined, could not perform his past relevant
work but could perform the requirements of representative
work such as office cleaner and hand packer, both light work
with an SVP of 2. Tr. 27. Folmar disagrees, arguing that the
ALJ erred in his evaluation of the medical testimony,
plaintiff's credibility, and the Listings. Docs. 10 &
Folmar's Subjective Testimony
found Folmar less than fully credible because his statements
regarding the extent and duration of the limiting effects of
his symptoms were “not entirely consistent with the
medical evidence and other evidence in the record.” Tr.
22. Plaintiff contends, in a single-sentence argument, that
this reason was not specific enough to uphold the ALJ's
credibility finding. Doc. 10 at 9; see also doc. 15
(plaintiff's reply brief, which does not argue the matter
at all). Of course, a plaintiff “waive[s] all
challenges to the ALJ's decision except the one[s]
briefed.” Jones ex rel. Martensen v. Colvin,
2015 WL 4770059 at * 3 n. 3 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 12, 2015) (citing
Sanchez v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 507 F. App's
855, 856 n. 1 (11th Cir. 2013)). And this Court will not, on
its own, hunt down any such reasons. See, e.g. United
States v. Dunkel, 927 F.3d 955, 956 (7th Cir. 1991)
(“Judges are not like pigs, hunting for truffles buried
in briefs.”). Plaintiff has not even hinted at
any error in the ALJ's credibility assessment.
the ALJ evaluated the record at length. Tr. 22-26.
The ALJ noted, among other things, that the medical evidence
reflected Folmar's dramatic improvement following his
accident, in balance, right-sided weakness, strength, mood,
and neurocognitive ability. Folmar no longer requires
physical therapy, has only slightly decreased strength in his
lower extremity and full strength in his other extremities,
has been cleared to drive his personal vehicle, no longer
requires a cane to ambulate (though he uses it “at
times” while fatigued), engages in a wide variety of
activities of daily living and is essentially independent in
self-care (though his wife helps him shave). Tr. 23. Folmar,
indeed, has expressed interest in returning to school, and is
prevented solely by funding - rather than functional capacity
- issues. Tr. 24. He receives only minimal treatment, with
his pain managed by anti-inflammatory medication and ...