United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
EDWARD W. HENRY, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
& ORDER (1) OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS (DKT.
16), (2) ACCEPTING THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
(DKT. 15), (3) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT (DKT. 13), AND (4) GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. 14)
A. GOLDSMITH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
social security case, Plaintiff Edward W. Henry appeals from
the final determination of the Commissioner of Social
Security that he is not disabled and, therefore, not entitled
to disability benefits. The matter was referred to Magistrate
Judge Patricia T. Morris for a Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”). The parties filed cross-motions for
summary judgment (Dkts. 13, 14), and the magistrate judge
issued an R&R recommending that the Court grant the
Commissioner's motion for summary judgment and deny
Henry's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 15). Henry
filed objections to the R&R (Dkt. 16); the Commissioner
subsequently filed a response (Dkt. 17).
reasons that follow, the Court overrules Henry's
objections and accepts the recommendation contained in the
magistrate judge's R&R. The Commissioner's motion
is granted and Henry's motion is denied. The final
decision of the Commissioner is affirmed.
Court reviews de novo those portions of the R&R to which
a specific objection has been made. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). Under 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), this Court's “review is limited to
determining whether the Commissioner's decision ‘is
supported by substantial evidence and was made pursuant to
proper legal standards.'” Ealy v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 594 F.3d 504, 512 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting
Rogers v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241
(6th Cir. 2007)). “Substantial evidence is ‘such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.'” Lindsley v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 560 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir.
2009) (quoting Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389,
401 (1971)). In determining whether substantial evidence
exists, the Court may “look to any evidence in the
record, regardless of whether it has been cited by the
[Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)].”
Heston v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 245 F.3d 528, 535
(6th Cir. 2001). “[T]he claimant bears the burden of
producing sufficient evidence to show the existence of a
disability.” Watters v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.
Admin., 530 F. App'x 419, 425 (6th Cir. 2013).
offers four objections: (i) the magistrate judge erred in
finding that the ALJ's decision was supported by
substantial evidence; (ii) the magistrate judge erred in
holding that the ALJ's findings regarding Henry's
recurrent ulcers and extremity cellulitis were supported by
substantial evidence; (iii) the magistrate judge erred when
she held that the ALJ did not have a duty to re-contact
Henry's treating physicians; and (iv) the magistrate
judge erred when she affirmed the ALJ's credibility
assessment of Henry. The Court concludes that each objection
first argues that the magistrate judge erred in finding that
the ALJ's decision to deny benefits was supported by
substantial evidence. He argues that “both the ALJ and
the Magistrate Judge misconstrued medical evidence and
testimony that ultimately, resulted in an inadequate
determination to address Plaintiff's multiple severe
medical conditions (specifically, mild osteoarthritis of hip;
degenerative joint disease of the spine; obesity; and
sarcoidosis . . .)[.]” Obj. at 5 (cm/ecf page). He also
notes that documentation from the United States Department of
Veterans Affairs (“VA”) includes diagnostic
testing that supports a finding of severe impairments.
Finally, Henry argues that the ALJ improperly rejected his
physicians' determination of his residual functional
arguments regarding the VA records are unavailing. While he
argues that the ALJ misconstrued this medical evidence, the
record indicates that she reviewed the documentation and
agreed with the assessment that Henry's mild
osteoarthritis of the hip, degenerative joint disease of the
spine, obesity, and sarcoidosis qualified as severe
impairments. A.R. at 17 (Dkt. 10).
denial instead rests on the ALJ's conclusion that,
despite Henry's inability to perform his past relevant
work, his RFC allowed him to perform other jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy. The ALJ found
that Henry had the following RFC:
[T]o perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §
404.1567(b) except: allowance to change positions every 30
minutes for one to two minutes in the immediate vicinity of
the work station with sitting, standing or walking for a
total of four hours each; no operation of foot controls,
occasional climbing stairs; no climbing ladders and the like
or balancing on one lower extremity at [a] time; occasional
stooping greater than 90 degrees, kneeling, or crouching; no
crawling or exposure to obvious hazards; occasional exposure
to temperature extremes, humidity and respiratory irritants;
and no fast paced work meaning no work where the pace of
productivity is dictated by an external source over which the
claimant has no control such as an assembly line or conveyor
A.R. at 19. Henry contends that the ALJ rejected the
conclusions of physicians regarding his RFC, stating that
“[t]he ALJ is not a medical doctor and should not be
making a RFC determination on her own, but should instead
rely on the ...