United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S
OBJECTIONS , ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ,
DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ,
GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ,
AND DISMISSING CASE
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA)
denied Plaintiff David Grunwald's application for
Disability Insurance Benefits in a decision issued by an
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). ECF 15-2, PgID 135. The SSA
Appeals Council declined to review the ruling. Grunwald
appealed and the Court referred the matter to the magistrate
judge. The parties then filed cross-motions for summary
judgment. See ECF 21, 25. The magistrate judge
issued a Report and Recommendation suggesting the Court grant
the Commissioner's motion, deny Grunwald's motion,
and dismiss the case. ECF 29. Grunwald's timely
objections followed. ECF 30. For the reasons stated below,
the Court will overrule the objections, adopt the Report,
deny Grunwald's motion for summary judgment, grant the
Commissioner's motion for summary judgment, and dismiss
Court will adopt the magistrate judge's description of
Grunwald's medical and procedural history. See
Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) governs review of a magistrate
judge's report. If the parties "serve and file
specific written objections to the proposed findings and
recommendations, " then the Court must review the report
de novo. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2), (3). A district court need
not review portions of a report, however, to which no party
has objected. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150
(1985). "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).
reviewing a social security appeal, 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 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 must consider the entire body of evidence but need not
directly address each piece in his decision. Kornecky v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 167 F.App'x 496, 508 (6th
Cir. 2006). "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.
objects to the ALJ's evaluation of bathroom-use
requirements, opinion evidence, and credibility.
Additionally, Grunwald claims the ALJ should not have relied
on the vocational expert's (VE) testimony because it
lacked foundation. As the magistrate judge explained in her
thorough and well-reasoned report, the objections lack merit.
claims the ALJ failed to properly evaluate his bathroom-use
requirements. Grunwald testified that he suffered symptoms
from colitis once or twice a week. ECF 15-3, PgID 162. But
the medical records contain scarce mention of colitis. A
colonoscopy revealed "mild ischemic colitis" that
was stabilized with antibiotics and "home
medications." ECF 15-13, PgID 628-29. Also, a treating
physician listed "colitis" as one of Grunwald's
reported symptoms. ECF 15-17, PgID 903.
initial matter, Grunwald bears the "burden to prove the
severity of [his] impairments." Higgs v. Bowen,
880 F.2d 860, 863 (6th Cir. 1988). He has not met his burden
with regard to colitis. The limited record evidence regarding
colitis does not prove the severity or functional limitations
Grunwald claims. Also, the ALJ was not required to explicitly
address the conflict between Grunwald's testimony and his
medical records. Kornecky, 167 F.App'x at 508.
Instead, she implicitly resolved the conflict by examining
the medical records related to colitis, noting that
Grunwald's statements related to the severity of symptoms
lacked objective medical support, and concluding that colitis
was not a severe impairment. See ECF 15-2, PgID 127,
130. In sum, the limited medical documentation of
Grunwald's colitis supported the ALJ's conclusion
regarding the severity of the impairment and her
determination as to his bathroom-proximity restrictions.
addition, the ALJ's bathroom-proximity limitation was
substantially supported by both Grunwald's testimony and
the medical records. Grunwald testified that he has to
urinate two times an hour "[b]ecause of my diabetes and
I have to drink a lot of water." ECF 15-3, PgID 162.
Doctors repeatedly advised Grunwald that a change in diet
would help control his diabetes and its complications.
See, e.g., ECF 15-10, PgID 449. He also testified
that he does not comply with the recommended dietary
restrictions. ECF 15-3, PgID 166-67. Thus, the ALJ properly
concluded that better control of Grunwald's diabetes
would lead to reduced bathroom-use limitations.
related point, Grunwald objects that the ALJ's
conclusion-that Grunwald could "manage his [colitis]
symptoms, which are often secondary to uncontrolled diabetes
and intestinal disorders"-lacked support from the
medical evidence. See ECF 15-2, PgID 130. But
regardless of whether the medical record explicitly linked
Grunwald's colitis symptoms to his uncontrolled diabetes,
substantial evidence supported the ALJ's determination
that his colitis was not a severe impairment. ECF 15-13, PgID
628-29 (medical records indicating "mild colitis"
treated with antibiotics and pain medication), ECF 15-17,
PgID 903 (medical record listing "colitis" as a
symptom reported by Grunwald). As a result, the Court finds
no error with the ALJ's conclusion regarding the severity
of Grunwald's colitis or the bathroom-proximity
limitation. There is no ...