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Grubbs v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

March 28, 2017

L.V. GRUBBS, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          DECISION AFFIRMING DENIAL OF BENEFITS

          Avern Cohn UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This is a Social Security case. Plaintiff L.V. Grubbs, Jr. (Grubbs) appeals a decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner) denying his application for disability insurance and other benefits. Grubbs asserts impairments including knee arthrosis, hand dysfunction, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

         Grubbs is suing under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking reversal of the Commissioner's decision. Grubbs has filed a motion for summary judgment, (Doc. 13). The Commissioner has filed a cross motion for summary judgment, (Doc. 14). The motions were referred to a magistrate judge who reported and recommended, (Doc. 15), that the Court deny Grubbs's motion, grant the Commissioner's motion, and affirm the denial of benefits. Grubbs has raised various objections, (Doc. 16).

         The Court has considered the report and recommendation (R&R) and Grubbs's objections to it, and conducted a de novo review of the record pertaining to the objections. The Court agrees with the magistrate judge's conclusions and reasoning.

         II. DISPOSITION

         Grubbs's objections to the R&R, (Doc. 16), are OVERRULED, the R&R, (Doc. 15), is ADOPTED, Grubbs's motion for summary judgment, (Doc. 13), is DENIED, the Commissioner's motion for summary judgment, (Doc. 14), is GRANTED, and the Commissioner's denial of benefits is AFFIRMED.

         III. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Grubbs does not object to the R&R's recitation of the facts and procedural history. (Docs. 15, 16). The Court adopts and incorporates it. (See Doc. 15).

         IV. PENDING MOTIONS

         Grubbs seeks review of the agency's determination of his residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform light work with restrictions. However, instead of arguing the substance of the RFC, he seeks relief on various technical and procedural grounds. They are the administrative law judge (ALJ)'s: (1) failure to comply with prior remand orders to address additional medical records submitted, (2) decision to accord “great weight” to a consultant physician's RFC assessment pre-dating these records, (3) failure to undergo a “function-by-function” analysis in determining RFC, and (4) failure to obtain an updated RFC report given the additional medical records.

         V. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A. R&R Objections

         The Court must review de novo parts of an R&R to which a party objects. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). “A judge of the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or ...


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