United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S
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.
Harrier claims to have become disabled on November 11, 2011
and he filed an application for disability insurance benefits
on April 15, 2013. When his application was denied, he sought
and received an administrative hearing. The ALJ, in a written
opinion, found he was not disabled. After the Appeals Council
denied review, Harrier filed for judicial review by the
Court. The case was referred to a magistrate judge and the
parties filed cross motions for summary judgment.
See ECF 14, 17.
magistrate judge issued a Report and Recommendation
("Report") suggesting that the Court grant the
Commissioner's motion and deny Harrier's motion. ECF
20. Harrier filed a timely objection to the Report, and the
Commissioner filed a reply. ECF 21, 22. After examining the
record and considering Harrier's objections de novo, the
Court concludes that his arguments lack merit. Accordingly,
the Court will adopt the Report, deny Harrier's motion
for summary judgment, and grant the Commissioner's motion
for summary judgment.
Rule 72(b) governs the review of a magistrate judge's
report. The Court need not review portions of a Report to
which no party has objected. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S.
140, 150 (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) and (3). 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.
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) (quotation marks omitted).
Substantial evidence consists of "more than a scintilla
of evidence but less than a preponderance" such that 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) (quotation marks omitted).
An ALJ may consider the entire body of evidence without
directly addressing each piece in the decision. Kornecky
v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 167 F.App'x 496, 508
(6th Cir. 2006) (citation omitted). "Nor must an ALJ
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."
Id. (quotation marks omitted).
raises two objections to the Report. In his first objection,
he argues that the ALJ violated a Social Security Ruling
concerning disability determinations by other government
agencies. Because the magistrate judge found otherwise,
Harrier objects. In his second objection, he argues that the
magistrate judge made "no effort" to address his
arguments for remand. The Court takes each objection in turn.
Objection One - The VA's Disability
first objection centers around SSR-06-03p: a Social Security
ruling that clarifies how the Social Security Administration
(SSA) considers decisions made by other governmental agencies
on the issue of disability. SSR 06-03p explains that other
agencies' determinations of disability do not bind the
SSA because the other agencies apply different rules. Still,
"evidence of a disability decision by another
governmental or nongovernmental agency cannot be ignored and
must be considered." SSR-06-03p, 2006 WL 2263437 (August
9, 2006). Harrier argues that the ALJ did not adequately
consider an earlier finding of disability by the Department
of Veterans Affairs (VA).
is a veteran. He served in the Air Force for thirteen years
prior to his discharge in 1996. ECF 11-2, PgID 73. In 2012,
the VA determined that Harrier was "permanently and
totally disabled." ECF 11-7, PgID 459. Harrier
introduced this determination as evidence at his hearing
before the ALJ, along with other records and findings by the
VA. Harrier claims that there was "no detail whatsoever
in the ALJ's analysis of the VA decision" and that
the ALJ made "a simple conclusory statement that she
took into consideration [his] medical history, allegations,
and objective medical evidence" but failed to explain
"why the VA's decision was discarded." ECF 21,
characterization of the ALJ's decision is inaccurate. The
ALJ's decision described the VA records in detail. ECF
11-2, PgID 56-59. The ALJ pointed out inconsistencies between
the objective findings within the medical records and
Harrier's subjective allegations. See, e.g., ECF
11-2, PgID 56 (discussing his eyesight), 57 (recognizing his
ability to work), 58 (discussing his hearing, reported pain,
and demonstrated ability to function despite his bipolar
condition). In short, the ALJ reviewed and discussed the same
medical records that the VA used to make its disability
determination; she simply arrived at a different conclusion
than the VA, in part because the criteria for the SSA and the
VA are different. Compare 38 U.S.C. § 5107(b)
(requiring the Secretary of the VA to give claimants
"the benefit of the doubt") with Jones v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 336 F.3d 469, 474 (6th Cir.
2003) (recognizing that a Social Security claimant
"bears the burden of proving the existence and severity
ALJ's thorough discussion of the VA records demonstrates
that she considered the disability decision of another
government entity. The magistrate judge properly concluded
that the ALJ satisfied SSR 06-03p. Harrier's first
objection is overruled.
Objection Two - Failure ...