United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
TERRI E. DAVIS, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
MARIANNE O. BATTANI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff Terri E. Davis' objections (Doc.
20) to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation
("R&R") (Doc. 19). Davis filed an action
seeking judicial review of a final decision of the Defendant
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
("Commissioner") under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Each side filed a motion for summary judgment (Doc. 14; Doc.
matter was referred to Magistrate Judge R. Stephen Whalen,
who found that substantial evidence supported the
Administrative Law Judge's ("ALJ") and the
Commissioner's decision to deny benefits. (Doc. 19). For
the reasons stated below, the Court ADOPTS the Magistrate
Judge's R&R; GRANTS Defendant's motion for
summary judgment and DENIES Plaintiff's motion for
filed the present action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g),
challenging the final decision of the Commissioner, who
rendered an unfavorable decision on February 23, 2015,
denying Davis' applications for Disability Insurance
Benefits under the Social Security Act. Davis asserts that
the Commissioner's decision is not based upon substantial
evidence. (Doc. 1; Doc. 14).
matter was referred to Magistrate Judge Whalen for
determination of all non-dispositive motions pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and issuance of a Report and
Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and
(C). Each side filed a motion for summary judgment (Doc. 14;
Doc. 15). Magistrate Judge Whalen found that the Commissioner
applied the correct legal standards and made findings of fact
that were supported by substantial evidence in the record,
and recommended that the Commissioner's motion for
summary judgment be granted, that Davis' motion for
summary judgment be denied, and that the ALJ's decision
be affirmed. (Doc. 19).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
district court must conduct a de novo review of the
parts of a Magistrate Judge's R&R to which a party
objects. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The district court
"may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings or recommendations made by the magistrate." ]g\
The requirement of de novo review "is a
statutory recognition that Article III of the United States
Constitution mandates that the judicial power of the United
States be vested in judges with life tenure." United
States v. Shami, 754 F.2d 670, 672 (6th Cir.1985).
Accordingly, Congress enacted 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) to
"insure[ ] that the district judge would be the final
arbiter" of a matter referred to a magistrate judge.
Flournoy v. Marshall, 842 F.2d 875, 878 (6th
Court must affirm the Commissioner's conclusions so long
as the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards and
made findings of fact that are supported by substantial
evidence in the record. Walters v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec, 127 F.3d 525, 528 (6th Cir. 1997). Substantial
evidence is evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate evidence in support a conclusion. ]d. This means
that administrative findings
are not subject to reversal merely because substantial
evidence exists in the record to support a different
conclusion. The substantial evidence standard presupposes
that there is a 'zone of choice' within which the
[Commissioner] may proceed without interference from the
courts. If the [administrative] decision is supported by
substantial evidence, a reviewing court must affirm.
Felisky v. Bowen, 35 F.3d 1027, 1035 (6th Cir. 1994)
(citations omitted). The Sixth Circuit has further explained,
"[i]f supported by substantial evidence, the
Commissioner's decision must be affirmed, even if the
reviewing court would decide the case differently and even if
the claimant's position is also supported by substantial
evidence. Linscomb v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec, 25
Fed.Appx. 264, 266 (6th Cir. 2001) (citations
raises two objections to the R&R. First, Davis contends
that the Magistrate Judge erred in supporting the ALJ's
hypothetical(s) to the Vocational Expert ("VE").
Second, Davis asserts that the Magistrate Judge erred in
supporting the ALJ's credibility determination. These
objections will be addressed in turn below.
Hypothetical to Vocational ...