United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Delaina J. Peters, Plaintiff,
Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
Robert J. Jonker Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
PHILLIP J. GREEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a social security action brought under 42 U.S.C. §§
405(g), 1383(c)(3) seeking judicial review of a final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security finding that
plaintiff was not entitled to disability insurance benefits
(DIB) and supplemental security income (SSI) benefits. On
July 3, 2013, plaintiff filed her applications for DIB and
SSI benefits, alleging an April 9, 2012, onset of disability.
(Op. at 1, ECF No. 9-2, PageID.46). Plaintiff's claims
were denied on initial review. (Id.). On January 22,
2015, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) conducted a hearing
at which plaintiff and a vocational expert testified.
(Id.). The ALJ issued a decision August 13, 2015,
finding that plaintiff was not disabled. (Id. at 14,
PageID.59). On August 11, 2016, the Appeals Council denied
review (ECF No. 9-2, PageID.30-32), and the ALJ's
decision became the Commissioner's final decision.
timely filed a complaint seeking judicial review of the
Commissioner's decision. Plaintiff argues that the
Commissioner's decision should be overturned on five
grounds, which she identifies as follows:
I. ALJ PROTHRO OVERLOOKED A TREATOR'S OPINION
II. ALJ PROTHRO IGNORED SOME IMPAIRMENTS
III. ALJ PROTHRO'S CPP/MENTAL RFC FINDINGS ARE
IV. ALJ PROTHRO GAVE INADEQUATE REASONS TO REJECT
V. ALJ PROTHRO GAVE INADEQUATE REASONS TO REJECT THE REPORT
OF PLAINTIFF'S BROTHER
(Plf. Brief at 2, ECF No. 14, PageID.612). For the reasons
contained herein, I recommend that the Commissioner's
decision be vacated and the matter remanded to the
Commissioner under sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)
for further administrative proceedings.
reviewing the grant or denial of social security benefits,
this Court is to determine whether the Commissioner's
findings are supported by substantial evidence and whether
the Commissioner correctly applied the law. See Elam ex
rel. Golay v. Commissioner, 348 F.3d 124, 125 (6th Cir.
2003); Buxton v. Halter, 246 F.3d 762, 772 (6th Cir.
2001). Substantial evidence is defined as “such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.” Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971); see Rogers v.
Commissioner, 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007).
scope of the Court's review is limited. Buxton,
246 F.3d at 772. The court does not review the evidence
de novo, resolve conflicts in evidence, or make
credibility determinations. See Ulman v.
Commissioner, 693 F.3d 709, 713 (6th Cir. 2012);
Walters v. Commissioner, 127 F.3d 525, 528 (6th Cir.
1997). “The findings of the [Commissioner] as to any
fact if supported by substantial evidence shall be conclusive
. . . .” 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); see McClanahan v.
Commissioner, 474 F.3d 830, 833 (6th Cir. 2006).
“The findings of the Commissioner are not subject to
reversal merely because there exists in the record
substantial evidence to support a different conclusion. . . .
This is so because there is a ‘zone of choice'
within which the Commissioner can act without fear of court
interference.” Buxton, 246 F.3d at 772-73.
“If supported by substantial evidence, the
[Commissioner's] determination must stand regardless of
whether the reviewing court would resolve the issues of fact
in dispute differently.” Bogle v. Sullivan,
998 F.2d 342, 347 (6th Cir. 1993); see Gayheart v.
Commissioner, 710 F.3d 365, 374 (6th Cir. 2013)
(“A reviewing court will affirm the Commissioner's
decision if it is based on substantial evidence, even if
substantial evidence would have supported the opposite
conclusion.”). “[T]he Commissioner's decision
cannot be overturned if substantial evidence, or even a
preponderance of the evidence supports the claimant's
position, so long as substantial evidence also supports the
conclusion reached by the ALJ.” Jones v.
Commissioner, 336 F.3d 469, 477 (6th Cir. 2003); see
Kyle v. Commissioner, 609 F.3d 847, 854 (6th Cir. 2010).