United States District Court, D. Maine
ROY E. LEE, Plaintiff
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant
MEMORANDUM DECISION 
H. Rich III United States Magistrate Judge.
Social Security Disability (“SSD”) and
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) appeal
raises the question of whether the administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) supportably found the plaintiff capable
of performing work existing in significant numbers in the
national economy. The plaintiff seeks remand on the bases
that the ALJ improperly (i) rejected the opinion of his
treating source, (ii) interpreted raw medical evidence to
formulate his residual functional capacity
(“RFC”), and (iii) erred in evaluating his
credibility. See Itemized Statement of Errors
Pursuant to Local Rule 16.3 Submitted by Plaintiff
(“Statement of Errors”) (ECF No. 8) at 2-5. I
find no reversible error, and, accordingly, affirm the
to the commissioner's sequential evaluation process, 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920; Goodermote v.
Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 690 F.2d 5, 6
(1st Cir. 1982), the ALJ found, in relevant part, that the
plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Social
Security Act through December 31, 2014, Finding 1, Record at
14; that he had the severe impairments of degenerative lumbar
disc/spine disease (status-post lumbar discectomy with
residual chronic myofascitis and radiculitis) and obesity,
Finding 3, id.; that he retained the RFC to perform
the full range of sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a), Finding 5,
id. at 17; that, considering his age (categorized as
a younger individual ages 18-44 from his alleged disability
onset date, January 4, 2010, through October 19, 2015, and as
a younger individual ages 45-49 as of October 20, 2015),
education (at least high school), work experience
(transferability of skills immaterial), and RFC, there were
jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy
that he could perform, Findings 7-10, id. at 19-20;
and that he, therefore, had not been disabled from January 4,
2010, through the date of the decision, November 4, 2015,
Finding 11, id. at 20-21. The Appeals Council
declined to review the decision, id. at 1-3, making
the decision the final determination of the commissioner, 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.981, 416.1481; Dupuis v.
Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 869 F.2d 622,
623 (1st Cir. 1989).
standard of review of the commissioner's decision is
whether the determination made is supported by substantial
evidence. 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3);
Manso-Pizarro v. Sec'y of Health & Human
Servs., 76 F.3d 15, 16 (1st Cir. 1996). In other words,
the determination must be supported by such relevant evidence
as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the
conclusion drawn. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S.
389, 401 (1971); Rodriguez v. Sec'y of Health &
Human Servs., 647 F.2d 218, 222 (1st Cir. 1981).
reached Step 5 of the sequential evaluation process, at which
stage the burden of proof shifts to the commissioner to show
that a claimant can perform work other than his past relevant
work. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(g), 416.920(g);
Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 146 n.5 (1987);
Goodermote, 690 F.2d at 7. The record must contain
substantial evidence in support of the commissioner's
findings regarding the plaintiff's RFC to perform such
other work. Rosado v. Sec'y of Health & Human
Servs., 807 F.2d 292, 294 (1st Cir. 1986).
statement of errors also implicates Step 4 of the sequential
evaluation process, at which stage the claimant bears the
burden of proving inability to return to past relevant work.
20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(f), 416.920(f);
Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 146 n.5. At this step, the
commissioner must make findings of the plaintiff's RFC
and the physical and mental demands of past work and
determine whether the plaintiff's RFC would permit
performance of that work. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(f),
416.920(f); Social Security Ruling 82-62 (“SSR
82-62”), reprinted in West's Social Security
Reporting Service Rulings 1975-1982, at 813.
The ALJ's Treatment of the Opinion of the Plaintiff's
plaintiff first argues that the ALJ improperly rejected the
opinion of his “longtime physician[, ]” David L.
Phillips II, M.D., that he needed to change positions every
20 minutes between sitting, standing, and reclining.
Statement of Errors at 2; Record at 495. I find no error.
foundational matter, while a treating source opinion
generally is entitled to more weight, see 20 CFR
§§ 404.1527(c)(2), 416.927(c)(2), it is entitled to
controlling weight only when it is “well-supported by
medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic
techniques and is not inconsistent with other substantial
evidence in [the] case record, ” id. Further,
while an ALJ must “always give good reasons . . . for
the weight [the ALJ] give[s] [a claimant's] treating
source's opinion[, ]” id., he or she may
give it little to no weight so long as good reasons are
provided, see, e.g., Heath v. Astrue, No.
1:12-cv-99-DBH, 2012 WL 6913440, at *11 (D. Me. Dec. 30,
2012) (rec. dec., aff'd Jan. 18, 2013).
accorded the Phillips opinion “minimal/less probative
weight[, ]” deeming it “inconsistent with the
just discussed record and the aforementioned medical evidence
(See: Finding No. 3, supra)[.]” Record at 19. As the
commissioner observes, see Defendant's Opposition to
Plaintiff's Statement of Errors
(“Opposition”) (ECF No. 9) at 5, the ALJ thereby
indicated that he found inconsistency not only with other
medical opinions of record, which, along with the
plaintiff's activities of daily living, he had just
discussed, see Record at 18-19, but also with the
objective medical evidence discussed in conjunction with his
Finding 3 concerning severe impairments, see id. at
14-15. In the text accompanying that finding, he emphasized
that, despite the plaintiff's degenerative disc disease,
he generally had normal neurological findings, including
normal motor power and reflexes in his lower extremities.
commissioner correctly notes that the plaintiff challenges
only the ALJ's reliance on other medical opinion evidence
in discounting the Phillips opinion; thus, the ALJ's
reliance on its inconsistency with the objective medical
evidence stands. See Opposition at 5; Statement of
Errors at 2-3.
reasons that follow, I find no fault in the ALJ's
conclusion that the Phillips opinion also was inconsistent
with other medical opinion evidence of record. Inconsistency
with other substantial evidence of record, in turn,
constitutes a good reason for according a treating
physician's opinion little to no weight. See,
e.g., Campagna v. Berryhill, No.
2:16-cv-00521-JDL, 2017 WL 5037463, at *4 (D. Me. Nov. 3,
2017) (rec. dec., aff'd Jan. 2, 2018).
deeming the Phillips opinion inconsistent with other record
evidence, the ALJ alluded, inter alia, to his prior
discussion of five other expert opinions of record:
1. Agency examining consultant Ira W. Stockwell, D.O.,
indicated in an October 5, 2012, report, see Record
at 407-09, that, “while [the plaintiff] was limited
concerning standing, walking, lifting and bending, and going
from a sitting to a standing position, he was not restricted
with respect to ...