United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Jena A. Diggs, Plaintiff,
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
ELIZABETH A. STAFFORD U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ;
OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION ; GRANTING
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ; AND DENYING
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT 
J. Tarnow Senior United States District Judge
Jena Diggs seeks judicial review of the decision of an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denying her
application for disability benefits. Plaintiff filed a Motion
for Summary Judgment [Dkt. 14] on July 8, 2016. Defendant
filed a Motion for Summary Judgment  on July 20, 2016. On
January 30, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation  recommending that the Court grant
Defendant's motion and deny Plaintiff's motion.
Timely objections and a response to the objections were filed
in this matter. [18, 19].
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 Motion
for Summary Judgment  is DENIED.
R&R summarized the record as follows:
Diggs's Background and Claimed Disabilities
February 22, 1966, Diggs was 47 years old when she submitted
her applications for disability benefits on October 24, 2013.
[ECF No. 11-3, Tr. 87]. She has a high school education, and
has past relevant work as an office manager and dental
assistant; she held these positions while working in a dental
office from October 2000 to October 2013. [ECF No. 11-2, Tr.
58-60; ECF No. 11-6, Tr. 231]. Diggs alleges that she is
disabled by cardiomyopathy, Graves' disease, kidney
failure, emotional problems, learning problems, thyroid
problems, and arthritis in spine and hands, with an onset
date of October 1, 2013.1 [ECF No. 11-3, Tr. 87]. During
testimony, Diggs also alleged episodes of memory loss and
mental confusion. [ECF No. 11-2, Tr. 64; ECF No. 14, PageID
hearing on June 16, 2015, which included the testimony of
Diggs and a vocational expert (“VE”), the ALJ
found that Diggs was not disabled. [ECF No. 11-2, Tr. 40-8,
53-86]. The Appeals Council denied review, making the
ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
[Id., Tr. 1-4]. Diggs timely filed for judicial
review. [ECF No. 1].
The ALJ's Application of the Disability Framework
SSI are available for those who have a
“disability.” See Colvin v. Barnhart,
475 F.3d 727, 730 (6th Cir. 2007). A “disability”
is the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or
which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous
period of not less than 12 months.” 42 U.S.C.
§§ 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A).
Commissioner determines whether an applicant is disabled by
analyzing five sequential steps. First, if the applicant is
“doing substantial gainful activity, ” he or she
will be found not disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(a)(4), 416.920(a)(4). Second, if the claimant has
not had a severe impairment or a combination of such
impairments for a continuous period of at least 12 months, no
disability will be found. Id. Third, if the
claimant's severe impairments meet or equal the criteria
of an impairment set forth in the Commissioner's Listing
of Impairments, the claimant will be found disabled.
Id. If the fourth step is reached, the Commissioner
considers its assessment of the claimant's residual
functional capacity, and will find the claimant not disabled
if he or she can still do past relevant work. Id. At
the final step, the Commissioner reviews the claimant's
RFC, age, education and work experiences, and determines
whether the claimant could adjust to other work. Id.
The claimant bears the burden of proof throughout the first
four steps, but the burden shifts to the Commissioner if the
fifth step is reached. Preslar v. Sec'y of Health
& Human Servs., 14 F.3d 1107, 1110 (6th Cir. 1994).
this framework, the ALJ concluded that Diggs was not
disabled. At step one, he found that Diggs had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since her alleged onset date.
[ECF No. 11-2, Tr. 42]. At step two, he found that Diggs had
the severe impairments of “cardiomyopathy, Graves'
disease, hypertension, kidney disease, and right foot
fracture.” [Id.]. At step three, the ALJ
concluded that none of her ...