United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
R. Grand United States Magistrate Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER: (1) OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S
OBJECTIONS (ECF NO. 14); (2) ADOPTING THE REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE (ECF NO. 13); (3)
DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NO.
10); (4) GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
(ECF NO. 12); AND (5) AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY
D. Borman United States District Judge.
March 27, 2017, Magistrate Judge David R. Grand issued a
Report and Recommendation on the parties' cross-motions
for summary judgment. (ECF No. 13, Report and
Recommendation.) In the Report and Recommendation, the
Magistrate Judge recommended that this Court deny Plaintiff
Annierl Cooper's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
10), grant Defendant Commissioner of Social Security's
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 12), and affirm the
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security to deny
Plaintiff's claim for Supplemental Security Income (ECF
Nos. 7-2-7-9, Transcript of Social Security Proceedings
(hereinafter “Tr. at ___”) at
before the Court are Plaintiffs Objections to the Report and
Recommendation. (ECF No. 14, Pl.'s Objs.) Defendant filed
a timely Response. (ECF No. 15, Def.'s Resp.) Having
conducted a de novo review of the parts of the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation to which
objections have been filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1), the Court will overrule Plaintiff's Objections
and adopt the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Magistrate Judge adequately set forth the procedural and
factual background of this matter in his Report and
Recommendation. The Court adopts that summary here. (Report
and Recommendation at 2-6, Pg ID 1396-1400.)
STANDARDS OF REVIEW
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) and 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1), the Court conducts a de novo review of
the portions of the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation to which a party has filed “specific
written objections” in a timely manner. Lyons v.
Comm'r Soc. Sec, 351 F.Supp.2d 659, 661 (E.D. Mich.
2004). A district court “may accept, reject, or modify,
in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by
the magistrate judge.” Id. Only those
objections that are specific are entitled to a de
novo review under the statute. Mira v.
Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637 (6th Cir. 1986). “The
parties have the duty to pinpoint those portions of the
magistrate's report that the district court must
specially consider.” Id. (internal quotation
marks omitted). “A general objection, or one that
merely restates the arguments previously presented is not
sufficient to alert the court to alleged errors on the part
of the magistrate judge.” Aldrich v. Bock, 327
F.Supp.2d 743, 747 (E.D. Mich. 2004). Likewise, an objection
that does nothing more than disagree with a magistrate
judge's determination “without explaining the
source of the error” is not a valid objection.
Howard v. Sec'y of Health and Human Servs., 932
F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir. 1991).
reviewing the findings of the Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”), the Court is limited to
determining whether those findings are supported by
substantial evidence and made pursuant to proper legal
standards. See Rogers v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing 42 U.S.C. §
405(h)); see also Cutlip v. Sec't of Health and Human
Servs., 25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir. 1994). Substantial
evidence is “‘such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.'” Kyle v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 609 F.3d 847, 854 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting
Lindsley v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 560 F.3d 601,
604 (6th Cir. 2009)); see also McGlothin v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 299 F. App'x 516, 522 (6th Cir. 2008)
(recognizing that substantial evidence is “more than a
scintilla of evidence but less than a preponderance”)
(internal quotation marks omitted). “If the
Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial
evidence, [the court] must defer to that decision,
‘even if there is substantial evidence in the record
that would have supported an opposite conclusion.'”
Colvin v. Barnhart, 475 F.3d 727, 730 (6th Cir.
2007) (quoting Longworth v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.
Admin., 402 F.3d 591, 595 (6th Cir. 2005)).
whether proper legal criteria were followed, a decision of
the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) that is supported by
substantial evidence will not be upheld “where the SSA
fails to follow its own regulations and where that error
prejudices a claimant on the merits or deprives the claimant
of a substantial right.” Bowen v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 478 F.3d 742, 746 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing
Wilson v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 378 F.3d 541,
546-47 (6th Cir. 2004)).
Court does not “try the case de novo, nor resolve
conflicts in the evidence, nor decide questions of
credibility.” Cutlip, 25 F.3d at 286. It is
“for the ALJ, and not the reviewing court, to evaluate
the credibility of witnesses, including that of the
claimant.” Rogers, 486 F.3d at 247; see
also Cruse v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 502 F.3d 532, 542
(6th Cir. 2007) (noting that the “ALJ's credibility
determinations about the claimant are to be given great
weight, ‘particularly since the ALJ is charged with
observing the claimant's demeanor and
credibility'”) (quoting Walters v. Comm'r
of Soc. Sec, 127 F.3d 525, 531 (6th Cir. 1997)).
determining that Plaintiff was not disabled under the Social
Security Act (the “Act”), the
ALJ employed the five-step analysis provided for in 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520. The Magistrate Judge summarized that
analysis as follows:
Step One: If the claimant is currently engaged in substantial
gainful activity, benefits are denied without further
Step Two: If the claimant does not have a severe impairment
or combination of impairments that “significantly
limits . . . physical or mental ability to do basic work
activities, ” benefits are denied without further
Step Three: If the claimant is not performing substantial
gainful activity, has a severe impairment that is expected to
last for at least twelve months, and the severe impairment
meets or equals one of the impairments listed in the
regulations, the claimant is conclusively presumed to be
disabled regardless of age, education, or work experience.
Step Four: If the claimant is able to perform his or her past
relevant work, benefits are denied without further analysis.
Step Five: Even if the claimant is unable to perform his or
her past relevant work, if other work exists in the national
economy that the claimant can perform, in view of his or her