United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S
OBJECTION , ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ,
DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARYJUDGMENT , AND
GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge
Sheri Curler seeks review of a final decision by the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
("SSA"). Curler filed two applications for
Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance
Benefits, both of which were denied. After each denial,
Curler sought de novo review from an Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ"). The ALJs determined that Curler was not
disabled, and the SSA Appeals Council declined to review the
rulings. See Appeals Council Denials,
6-10, ECF No. 13-2; AR 119-124, ECF No.13-3. After Curler
filed the present action, the Court referred the matter to
Magistrate Judge Anthony Patti, and the parties filed
cross-motions for summary judgment. See Mot. Summ.
J., ECF Nos. 16, 20. The magistrate judge issued a Report and
Recommendation ("Report") suggesting that the Court
deny Curler's motion and grant the Commissioner's
motion. Report, ECF No. 22. Curler filed a timely objection
to the Report. Obj., ECF No. 24. After examining the record
and considering Curler's objection de novo, the Court
concludes that her arguments do not have merit. Accordingly,
the Court will adopt the Report's findings, deny
Curler's motion for summary judgment, grant the
Commissioner's motion for summary judgment, and dismiss
Report properly details the events giving rise to
Curler's action against the Commissioner. Report 2-5, ECF
No. 22. The Court will adopt that portion of the Report.
Rule 72(b) governs the review of a magistrate judge's
report. A district court's standard of review depends
upon whether a party files objections. The Court need not
undertake any review of portions of a Report to which no
party has objected. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150
(1985). De novo review is required, however, if the parties
"serve and file specific written objections to the
proposed findings and recommendations." Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b)(2) and (3). 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." Fed.R.Civ.P.
reviewing a case 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 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, 508 (6th
Cir. 2006) (citation omitted). "Nor must an ALJ 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 omitted).
raises only one objection to the Report, but in two parts.
First, she argues that the magistrate judge failed to show
how he found that the ALJ properly assigned weight to Dr.
Ingram's opinion, as required by 20 C.F.R. 404.1527(c)
and SSR 96-2p. Second, she argues that the Report does not
state how the ALJ's failure to follow those two
provisions could be construed as harmless error.
Social Security Administration assigns weight to medical
opinions in accordance with 20 C.F.R. 404.1527(c) and SSR
96-2p. "Controlling weight may not be given to a
treating source's medical opinion unless the opinion is
well-supported by medically acceptable clinical and
laboratory diagnostic techniques." SSR 96-2P, 1996 WL
374188 (July 2, 1996). And even if "a treating
source's medical opinion is well-supported, controlling
weight may not be given to the opinion unless it also is
'not inconsistent' with the other substantial
evidence in the case record." Id. When a
medical opinion is not given controlling weight, the ALJ
considers the following factors in deciding the weight to
give to the opinion: (1) examining relationship; (2)
treatment relationship, including its length, nature, extent,
and the frequency of examinations; (3) supportability; (4)
consistency; (5) specialization; and (6) other factors. 20
C.F.R. § 404.1527(c); see also Miller v. Comm'r
of Soc. Sec., 811 F.3d 825, 836-37 (6th Cir. 2016).
explained why Dr. Ingram's opinion was given little
weight. Dr. Ingram had estimated that Curler "had
extreme limitations in concentration, persistence, or pace
and marked limitations in social functioning[.]" AR 30,
ECF No. 13-2. But Curler's conditions had been
"described as stable and responsive to treatment, "
and the ALJ had received testimony from Curler to that
effect. Id. at 25-26. Consequently, the ALJ afforded
little weight to Ingram's opinion, and specifically
mentioned that it was unsupported by and inconsistent with
the medical evidence - just as required by 20 C.F.R. §
404.1527(c). Id. at 30. Curler has therefore failed
to show that the ALJ failed to comply with the Social
Security Administration's requirements for weighting
medical opinions. Since the Court finds no error, there is no
need to consider potential harmlessness.
Court has carefully reviewed the parties' motions, the
Report, and Curler's objection. The Court finds
Curler's objection unconvincing, and agrees with the
Report's recommendation to grant the Commissioner's