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Allor v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

May 31, 2017

Robert J. Allor, Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          Elizabeth A. Stafford Magistrate Judge

          ORDER ACCEPTING AND ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Sean F. Cox United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Robert J. Allor, Jr., (“Plaintiff”) brought this action seeking judicial review of Defendant Commissioner of Social Security's (“Defendant”) determination that he is not entitled to disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (Doc. # 1).

         All proceedings in this case were referred to Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), (B), and (C). (Doc. # 2). Sometime thereafter, Plaintiff and Defendant filed cross-motions for summary judgment. (Doc. # 11, Pl.'s Mo.; Doc. # 12, Def.'s Mo.).

         On November 28, 2016, Magistrate Judge Stafford issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”), wherein she recommended that: (1) Defendant's motion be DENIED; (2) Plaintiff's motion be GRANTED; and (3) that the Commissioner's decision be REMANDED for further consideration pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (Doc. # 17, R&R). Defendant timely filed objections to the Magistrate Judge's R&R (Doc. # 19, Def.'s Objs.) and Plaintiff timely responded to Defendant's objections. (Doc. # 20, Pl.'s Resp.).

         The Court finds Defendant's objections to be without merit. The Court shall therefore ACCEPT AND ADOPT the R&R and GRANT Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. # 11). Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 12) is therefore DENIED and the decision of the Commissioner shall be REMANDED for further consideration pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), a party objecting to the recommended disposition of a matter by a Magistrate Judge must file objections to the R&R within fourteen (14) days after being served with a copy of the R&R. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). Objections must “(A) specify the part of the order, proposed findings, recommendations, or report to which a person objects; and (B) state the basis for the objection.” E.D. Mich. LR 72.1(d).

         Objections are not “a second opportunity to present the argument already considered by the Magistrate Judge.” Betancourt v. Ace Ins. Co. of Puerto Rico, 313 F.Supp.2d 32, 34 (D.P.R. 2004). Moreover, the district court should not consider arguments that have not first been presented to the magistrate judge. See Stonecrest Partners, LLC v. Bank of Hampton Roads, 770 F.Supp.2d 778, 785 (E.D. N.C. 2011).

         “The district judge must determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly objected to. The 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).

         ANALYSIS

         In her R&R, Magistrate Judge Stafford determined that the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) improperly relied upon only fragments of the record and his own lay evaluation of medical evidence in order to find that Plaintiff was capable of a limited range of light work. Magistrate Judge Stafford also determined that the ALJ erred by concluding that Plaintiff's condition did not equal a disability listing without the support of a an expert medical opinion. For these reasons, the Magistrate Judge found that the ALJ's decision was not supported by substantial evidence. (R&R at 7). Defendant lodges three objections to the Magistrate Judge's R&R.

         Objection # 1. Defendant's first objection relates to the Magistrate's determination that the RFC finding was not supported by substantial evidence. Specifically, Defendant “objects to Judge Stafford's recommendation that this case should be remanded because there was no medical opinion in the record regarding the limitations caused by Plaintiff's physical impairments.” (Def.'s Objs. at 2). Defendant argues that “[b]oth the Sixth Circuit and this Court have rejected the argument that an ALJ errs simply because there is no medical opinion that corresponds to his RFC finding.” (Id. at 4) (citing to cases).

         Defendant's objection disregards the Magistrate Judge's reasons for concluding that a remand was necessary and it misconstrues the Magistrate Judge's R&R. Contrary to Defendant's assertions, the Magistrate Judge did not conclude that the ALJ erred “simply because” there was no medical opinion. Instead, Magistrate Judge Stafford noted that the ALJ's citation to fragments of the record was further ...


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