United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Patricia T. Morris U.S. Magistrate Judge.
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ;
OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION ; GRANTING
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ; AND DENYING
PLAINTIFF'S AMENDED MOTION FOR SUMMARY
J. Tarnow Senior United States District Judge.
Katherine Vernell Washington seeks judicial review of the
decision of an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
denying her application for disability benefits. Plaintiff
filed an Amended Motion for Summary Judgment [Dkt. 19] on
April 11, 2016. Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment
 on June 30, 2016. On December 21, 2016, the Magistrate
Judge issued a Report and Recommendation  recommending
that the Court grant Defendant's motion and deny
Plaintiff's. Plaintiff filed an Objection to the Report
and Recommendation  on January 4, 2017. Defendant filed a
Response to Plaintiff's Objections  on January 18,
reasons stated below, the Court ADOPTS the Report and
Recommendation . Plaintiff's Objection to the Report
and Recommendation  is OVERRULED. Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment  is GRANTED. Plaintiff's Amended
Motion for Summary Judgment  is DENIED.
R&R summarized the record as follows:
Introduction and Procedural History
On November 13, 2012, Washington filed an application for
DIB, alleging a disability onset date of May 1, 2010. (Tr.
137-43). The Commissioner denied her claim. (Tr. 53-61).
Washington then requested a hearing before an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”), which occurred on June 20,
2014 before ALJ Kathleen Eiler. (Tr. 25-43). At the hearing,
Washington-represented by her attorney, Ms. Ross-testified,
alongside Vocational Expert (“VE”) Cheryl Ross.
(Id.). The ALJ's written decision, issued July
25, 2014, found Washington not disabled. (Tr. 10-20). On
September 16, 2015, the Appeals Council denied review, (Tr.
1-4), and Washington filed for judicial review of that final
decision on November 20, 2015. (Dkt. 1).
Following the five-step sequential analysis, the ALJ found
Washington not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 10-20). At Step
One, the ALJ found that Washington had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since her alleged onset date of
May 1, 2010. (Tr. 12). At Step Two, the ALJ concluded that
the following impairments qualified as severe:
“affective disorder, anxiety disorder, and personality
disorder . . . .” (Id.). The ALJ also decided,
however, that none of these met or medically equaled a listed
impairment at Step Three. (Tr. 12-14). Thereafter, the ALJ
found that Washington had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform a full range of work at all
exertional levels with the following additional nonexertional
[S]he can perform simple, routine, and repetitive tasks with
minimal changes in a routine work setting and no production
rate pace work. She can occasionally interact with
supervisors, but is limited to minimal, superficial
interaction with co-workers and the public.
(Tr. 14). At Step Four, the ALJ found that Washington could
perform “her past relevant work as a machine
loader.” (Tr. 19). Proceeding to Step Five, the ALJ
alternatively determined that “there are jobs that
exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the
claimant can perform.” (Tr. 19).
The Court has reviewed Washington's medical record. In
lieu of summarizing [the] medical history here, the Court
will make references and provide citations to the record as
necessary in its discussion of the parties' arguments.
Application Reports and Administrative Hearing
On December 29, 2012, Washington filled out a Function
Report. (Tr. 188-95). She indicated that she rents a room and
lives with family. (Tr. 188). Describing her condition, she
wrote that “I have problem[s] concentrating and
thinking and get very aggressive very easy, ” has
“panic attack[s]” and “suicidal
ideas” sometimes, and “locks myself up in the
bathroom.” (Id.). In a typical day, Washington
said that she gets up, drinks coffee and watches television,
goes shopping if one of her sisters passes by, and then goes
to bed. (Tr. 189). Before her condition ensued, she
“used to work and be around people, ” which she
said she cannot do now. (Id.). She could not sleep
without her medicine. (Id.). In detailing issues
with personal care, she indicated that while capable of
dressing, bathing, caring for her hair, and using the toilet,
she often cannot muster the motivation to do so.
(Id.). Her roommate would help her remember to take
her medication and to groom. (Tr. 190). She did not cook as
much as she used to because “thinking and concentrating
take too much time.” (Id.). Even so, she would
spend about “forty minutes three days a week”
doing other chores, such as “wash[ing] dishes and
sweep[ing] [the] floor.” (Id.).
Twice a week, Washington would use transportation to travel
around. (Tr. 191). She would not leave alone, however,
because sometimes “I have panic attacks, ” and
she did not drive “because I don't pay attention
and thinking is hard sometimes.” (Id.). When
she went shopping, it would take two hours for her to buy
clothes, shoes, groceries, and the like. (Id.).
Because she had no income, she did not pay bills, count
change, handle a savings account, or use a checkbook.
Washington “love[s] to read books” in her free
time, for about two hours a day. (Tr. 192). However, since
the onset of her condition, her desire to read would
“come and go.” (Id.). Though she did
not spend time with others-because “I don't get
along with my family and ex-friends they always talk trash to
me, ” (Tr. 193)-she would regularly go to church and to
the clinic for several hours. (Id.). She did not get
along with authority figures because “they aggravate
me.” (Tr. 194). She had never, however, been fired from
a job due to social problems. (Id.).
As to her abilities, Washington checked difficulty with
talking, memory, completing tasks, concentration,
understanding, following instructions, and getting along with
others. (Tr. 193). She noted that she could only walk two
blocks before needing to rest for twenty minutes.
(Id.). In addition, she wrote that her capacity to
follow written and spoken instructions varied from being
“ok” to requiring extra time or repetition in
order to understand. (Id.). A third party Function
Report, submitted by Washington's friend Anthony Slater,
provides more details as to her life and condition. (Tr.
172-79). He noted that sometimes “I have to remind her
to take [a] shower and change clo[th]e[s].” (Tr. 173).
He touched on Washington's lack of income, ...