Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Plummer v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

September 1, 2017

KEREN R. PLUMMER, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

         ORDER ACCEPTING AND ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (#19), OVERRULING DEFENDANT'S FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH, FIFTH, SIXTH, SEVENTH, NINTH AND TENTH OBJECTIONS (#20), SUSTAINING DEFENDANT'S EIGHTH OBJECTION (#20) GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (#13), DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (#17), AND REMANDING THE CASE FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS

          GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the Court on the parties' Cross Motions for Summary Judgment pertaining to Plaintiff Keren Plummer's claim for judicial review of Defendant Commissioner of Social Security's denial of her application for supplemental security income benefits. The matter was referred to Magistrate Judge Patricia T. Morris, who issued a Report and Recommendation on May 31, 2017, recommending the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment be granted, Defendant Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment be denied, and Plaintiff's case be remanded for further proceedings. Defendant filed objections to the Report and Recommendation on June 7, 2017.

         For the reasons discussed below, the Court accepts and adopts the Magistrate Judge's report and recommendation and concludes that the findings of the Commissioner are not supported by substantial evidence, and therefore entry of remand for further proceedings is warranted.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Title 28 U.S.C. § 636 sets forth the standard of review used by the Court when examining a report and recommendation. The Court, “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). This Court has the power to, “accept, reject or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” Id.

         The district court may affirm, modify or reverse the Commissioner's decision, with or without remand. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Under § 405(g), the courts have limited power regarding the Commissioner's decision, “the findings of the commissioner of social security as to any fact if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive.” Id. Substantial evidence is “more than a scintilla of evidence but less than a preponderance and is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” McClanahan v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 474 F.3d 830, 833 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting Besaw v. Sec'y of Health and Human Servs., 966 F.2d 1028, 1030 (6th Cir. 1976).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Commissioner's Mental Health Related Objections (#1 through #5)

         In her report and recommendation, the magistrate judge concludes that substantial evidence does not support the ALJ's conclusion with respect to the Plaintiff's mental health conditions. Specifically, the magistrate judge found that the ALJ mischaracterized Plaintiff's mental health as stable and improving over time. For instance, the magistrate judge concluded that the ALJ improperly determined that Plaintiff's low GAF scores of thirty-seven and forty-two were not representative of her “ongoing normal functionality.” Based on this conclusion, the ALJ afforded little weight to these low GAF scores. Reviewing the totality of the medical records, Plaintiff's testimony and the other record evidence, the magistrate judge found that the ALJ erred in concluding that Plaintiff's low GAF scores were during a period of exacerbation and not reflective of her normal mental functioning.

         The Commissioner objects to the magistrate judge's conclusion and argues that “[t]he ALJ permissibly discounted the 2013 GAF scores[.]” Contrary to the Commissioner's objection, the magistrate judge correctly concluded that the ALJ's decision to afford little weight to the Plaintiff's low GAF scores was inconsistent with the other record evidence.

         “A GAF score is a ‘subjective rating of an individual's overall psychological functioning, ' which may assist an ALJ in assessing a claimant's mental RFC.” Miller v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 811 F.3d 825, 835 (6th Cir. 2016) (quoting Kennedy v. Astrue, 247 F. App'x 761, 766 (6th Cir. 2007)). The Miller court noted that courts must “take a case-by-case approach to the value of GAF scores.” Id. at 836.

         The ALJ supported her decision to afford little weight to Plaintiff's low GAF scores based on Plaintiff's “activities of daily living, her presentation during the hearings, and her lack of taking prescribed medications suggest that she is much more capable than the progress notes from the Monroe Community Mental Health ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.