United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Kimberly D. Peterson, on behalf on Minor KDP, and KDP, Plaintiffs,
Commissioner of SSA, Defendant.
Judge, Elizabeth A. Stafford
OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING THE REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION , GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR
EXTENSION OF TIME , DENYING PLAINTIFFS' OBJECTIONS
, DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
, AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
E. LEVY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Kimberly D. Peterson, on behalf of her 16-year-old minor
child K. D. P., filed this case on December 22, 2015, seeking
that the Court reverse the decision of defendant Commissioner
of Social Security Administration denying K. D. P.'s
application for social security disability benefits.
(See Dkt. 1.) The parties filed cross-motions for
summary judgment, and on February 15, 2017, the Magistrate
Judge filed a Report and Recommendation that defendant's
motion (Dkt. 13) be granted, plaintiffs' motion (Dkt. 10)
be denied, and the Commissioner's decision be affirmed.
(Dkt. 14 at 2.) Plaintiffs' filed untimely objections to
the report and recommendation (Dkt. 16) and a motion for
extension of time “due to computer error.” (Dkt.
15.) Defendant consented to the late filing of the Objections
(id. at 2), so the motion is granted and the merits
of the objections will be addressed. For the reasons set
forth below, the Court adopts the Magistrate Judge's
Report and Recommendation, denies plaintiffs' objections,
denies plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, and
grants defendant's motion for summary judgment.
K. D. P. was born on December 4, 1999, and alleges that he
began suffering from narcolepsy on November 18, 2012. (Dkt.
7-3 at 3.) His narcolepsy was confirmed by Dr. Gloria Chaney
of the Children's Hospital of Michigan at the Detroit
Medical Center in October 2013. (Dkt. 7-7 at 82.) Narcolepsy
is “a chronic disorder that is characterized by
permanent and over-whelming feelings of sleepiness . . . .
that interferes with the ability to concentrate and perform
daily functions.” (Id. at 75.)
December 2012, at the time he was repeating the sixth grade,
K. D. P. had a Psychoeducational Evaluation at the request of
his mother Kimberly Peterson. (Id. at 57-66.) The
Evaluation was performed by Muna Mashrah, M.A., a Certified
School Psychologist, who observed K. D. P. in the classroom,
reviewed records, and received input from K. D. P.'s
teachers and his mother. (Id. at 57.) K. D. P.'s
teacher reported that he was performing at grade-level, but
“he tends to fall asleep often” and “his
progress is hindered by him sleeping in class.”
(Id. at 58.) Mashrah evaluated K. D. P. using the
Woodcock Johnson Test of Cognitive Abilities, Third Edition,
and concluded that K. D. P. performed at the average level in
General Intellectual Ability, Visual-Spatial Thinking,
Auditory Processing, Fluid Reasoning, Processing Speed,
Short-term Memory, and Working Memory. (Id. at 61.)
He performed below average in Long-term Retrieval and low in
Comprehension-Knowledge (id.), which Mashrah
qualified by noting that “limited exposure to
vocabulary and experiences may have affected his performance
on comprehension tasks.” (Id. at 66.)
also evaluated K. D. P. using the Woodcock Johnson Test of
Achievement, Third Edition, and concluded that K. D. P.
performed at the average level for Basic Reading Skills and
Math Calculation, but below average for Reading
Comprehension, Reading Fluency, and Math Reasoning.
(Id. at 63.) Mashrah concluded that K. D. P.
“would benefit from academic interventions to target
fractions, mathematical symbols, vocabulary, and
abbreviations, as well as vocabulary words for reading
comprehension” (id. at 63), but recommended
against the need for special education services.
(Id. at 66.)
Kimberly Peterson filed K. D. P.'s application for
disability benefits on May 3, 2013, (Dkt. 7-5 at 1), and the
Administrative Law Judge held a hearing on May 6, 2014. (Dkt.
7-2 at 52.) The ALJ found that K. D. P. was not disabled
within the meaning of the Social Security Act (Dkt. 7-2 at
36-38), and the Appeals Council denied review. (Dkt. 7-2 at
2.) The ALJ's opinion is thus the final decision of the
applicant for disability benefits who is not satisfied with
the Commissioner's final decision may obtain review in
federal district court. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The district
court “must affirm the Commissioner's conclusions
absent a determination that the Commissioner has failed to
apply the correct legal standard or has made findings of fact
unsupported by substantial evidence in the record.”
Longworth v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 402 F.3d 591,
595 (6th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation marks omitted). The
court may affirm, modify, or reverse the Commissioner's
decision, and may also choose to remand the case for
rehearing when appropriate. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Commissioner's findings of fact are given substantial
deference on review and are conclusive if supported by
substantial evidence. Barker v. Shalala, 40 F.3d
789, 795 (6th Cir. 1994); 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Substantial evidence is “more than a scintilla but less
than a preponderance; it is such relevant evidence as 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). If there is
substantial evidence to support the Commissioner's
decision, the district court must affirm it even if
substantial evidence also supports a contrary conclusion.
Bass v. McMahon, 499 F.3d 506, 509 (6th Cir. 2007);
Wright v. Massanari, 321 F.3d 611, 614 (6th Cir.
2003); see also Cutlip v. Sec'y of Health and Human
Servs., 25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir. 1994) (if the
decision is supported by substantial evidence, “it must
be affirmed even if the reviewing court would decide the
matter differently . . . and even if substantial evidence
also supports the opposite conclusion”).
deciding whether there is substantial evidence to support the
Commissioner's factual findings, the district court is
limited to an examination of the record and should consider
the record as a whole. Bass, 499 F.3d at 512-13;
Wyatt v. Sec'y of Health and Human Servs., 974
F.2d 680, 683 (6th Cir. 1992). However, neither the
Commissioner nor the reviewing court must discuss every piece
of evidence in the administrative record. Kornecky v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 167 F. App'x 496, 508 (6th
Magistrate Judge has submitted a Report and Recommendation
and a party has filed timely objections, the district court
conducts a de novo review of those parts of the
Report and ...