United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S
OBJECTIONS , ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ,
DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT , AND
GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denied the
application of Tyrone Wilson for Supplemental Security Income
benefits in a decision issued by an Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ"). See AR 11-24, ECF No. 8-2. After
the Social Security Appeals Council declined to review the
ruling, Wilson appealed. The Court referred the matter to
Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford, and the parties filed
cross-motions for summary judgment. See Mots. Summ.
J., ECF Nos. 15, 16. The magistrate judge issued a Report
recommending that the Court deny Wilson's motion and
grant the Commissioner's motion. Report, ECF No. 17.
Wilson's timely objections followed; the Commissioner
filed no response.
Report properly details the events giving rise to
Wilson's action against the Commissioner. Report 2-5, ECF
No. 17. The Court will adopt that portion of the Report.
Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) governs the review of a
magistrate judge's report. The standard of review depends
on whether a party files objections. A district court need
not review portions of a report to which no party has
objected. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 153 (1985).
If the parties "serve and file specific written
objections to the proposed findings and recommendations,
" however, the Court must review the report de novo.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). In conducting a de novo review,
"[t]he district judge may accept, reject, or modify the
recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return
the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions."
reviewing a denial of social security benefits under 42
U.S.C. § 405(g), the Court "must affirm the
Commissioner's conclusions absent a determination that
the Commissioner has failed to apply the correct legal
standards or has made findings of fact unsupported by
substantial evidence in the record." Longworth v.
Comm'r Soc. Sec. Admin., 402 F.3d 591, 595 (6th Cir.
2005) (quotations omitted). Substantial evidence consists of
"more than a scintilla of evidence but less than a
preponderance" such that a "reasonable mind might
accept it as adequate to support a conclusion."
Rogers v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241
(6th Cir. 2007) (quotations omitted). An ALJ may consider the
entire body of evidence without directly addressing each
piece in his decision. Kornecky v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 167 F.App'x 496, 507-08 (6th Cir. 2006). In
addition, an ALJ need not "make explicit credibility
findings as to each bit of conflicting testimony, so long as
his factual findings as a whole show that he implicitly
resolved such conflicts." Id. (quotations
raises two objections to the Report: (1) the ALJ's
adverse credibility determination ignored evidence of
Wilson's inability to pay for pain medication and
improperly relied on the opinion of a non-treating,
non-examining physician; and (2) the ALJ ignored the fact
that Wilson was in need of medical treatment at the time of
his hearing. Obj., ECF No. 18.
Adverse Credibility Determination
argues that the Report and the ALJ failed to consider that
Wilson did not have access to drugs or medical treatment
until March 2014, when his insurance company began to pay
benefits related to his injury. See AR 253-67, ECF
No. 8-7. But an ALJ need not directly address each piece of
evidence in the record. Kornecky, 167 F.App'x at
507-08. Rather, an ALJ may resolve evidentiary conflicts
implicitly. See Id. In addition, an ALJ's
credibiility determination "must find support in the
record." Rogers, 486 F.3d at 247. The Court
will not disturb an ALJ's credibility determination
"absent [a] compelling reason." Smith v.
Halter, 307 F.3d 377, 379 (6th Cir. 2001).
the ALJ noted that Wilson had been prescribed pain
medications in the past, and-at the time of the March 6, 2014
hearing-Wilson was not taking any pain medications. AR 20,
ECF No. 8-2. Contrary to Wilson's assertion, the ALJ did
consider Wilson's claim that he could not afford pain
medication. In the decision, the ALJ implicitly accepted
Wilson's claim of financial limitations as true, and
noted that he had not sought low-cost or sliding-scale
payment options, or gone to the emergency room for pain
treatment. Id. The ALJ properly concluded that
Wilson's failure to seek treatment from these other
sources undermined his credibility. See Bradley v.
Sec'y HHS, 862 F.2d 1224, 1227 (6th Cir. 1988)
(affirming ALJ's adverse credibility determination based
on claimant's failure to seek pain treatment);
Houston v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., No. 14-14426,
2015 WL 5752720, at *21-22 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 25, 2015),
report and recommendation adopted, No. 14-14426,
2015 WL 5729079 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 30, 2015) (holding that an
ALJ may make an adverse credibility determination based on
indigent claimant's failure to pursue low-cost
also contends that the Report and the ALJ improperly relied
on credibility determinations from non-treating,
non-examining medical providers. His argument is unavailing
because it relies on an inaccurate characterization of the
ALJ's decision. The ALJ did not rely on credibility
determinations from the non-examining sources. Rather, the
ALJ conducted a thorough and detailed analysis of the medical
opinions of each physician, weighed the opinions based on a
variety of factors including consistency with the medical
record, and compared the medical opinions to Wilson's
testimony. The ALJ documented numerous inconsistencies
between Wilson's testimony and the medical opinions, his
medical records, his work history, and his daily activities.
AR 18-22, ECF No. 8-2. Wilson has not shown-and the Court
does not find-a compelling reason to disturb the ALJ's
credibility determination. Accordingly, the Court will
overrule the objection.
Wilson's Need ...