United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
STEVEN WHALEN MAGISTRATE JUDGE
OPINION AND ORDER OVERRULING OBJECTIONS ,
ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION , DENYING
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT , AND
GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
("SSA") denied Erica Davenport's application
for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance
Benefits in a decision issued by an Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ"). The SSA Appeals Council declined to review
the ruling, and Davenport appealed. The Court referred the
matter to the magistrate judge and the parties filed
cross-motions for summary judgment. The magistrate judge
issued a Report and Recommendation ("Report")
suggesting the Court deny Davenport's motion and grant
the Commissioner's motion. Davenport filed timely
objections. Having examined the record and considered the
objections de novo, the Court will overrule the objections,
adopt the Report, deny Davenport's motion for summary
judgment, and grant the Commissioner's motion for summary
Report properly details the events giving rise to
Davenport's action. Report 2-12, ECF 15. 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
review portions of a Report to which no party has objected.
Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 153 (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). 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. 72(b)(3).
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 it 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, 507-08 (6th Cir. 2006). And an ALJ need not "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."
first objection, Davenport challenges the magistrate
judge's summary of the ALJ's credibility
determination, and reasserts that a proper reading of
Mittlestadt v. CSS, 2011 WL 2694594 (W.D. Wash. June
15, 2011) requires remand. ECF 16, PgID 639-41.
may properly assess a claimant's credibility when
considering her complaints. Walters v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 127 F.3d 525, 531 (6th Cir. 1997). And because an
ALJ's duty is to observe a witness's demeanor and
credibility, any findings based on credibility are to be
accorded great weight and deference. Id.
the magistrate judge outlined the ALJ's assessment of
Davenport's credibility. ECF 15, PgID 629-31. Although
Davenport claimed there were barriers to complying with her
medical treatment, the ALJ found that the noncompliance
damaged her credibility. Additionally, "substantial,
legitimate evidence" in the entire case record further
diminished the credibility of Davenport's allegations:
she self-medicated with marijuana despite warnings from her
medical providers; she deliberately limited her work activity
to remain eligible for disability benefits; she continued
taking college courses until summer of 2013; and, among other
things, she reportedly completed a wide range of daily
activities. ECF No. 7-2, PgID 62-63; see Ulman v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 693 F.3d 709, 714 (6th Cir.
reliance on Mittlestadt is misplaced. In
Mittlestadt, the court remanded the case because the
ALJ misread the medical opinion of a treating mental health
source. 2011 WL 2694594, at *7-9. That is not the case here.
As the magistrate judge stated, Davenport's treating
sources did not find that "her non-compliance with
medical advice was due to mental illness, " and even
"encouraged her to obtain employment." ECF 15, PgID
631. The ALJ's overall credibility determination was
supported by substantial record evidence, and deserves great
Davenport contends that the ALJ and magistrate judge
"misconstrued medical evidence and testimony" to
reach an incorrect determination as to sixteen of
Davenport's adverse medical conditions. ECF 16, PgID
642-44. Considering that evidence along with her own