United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER OVERRULING OBJECTIONS ,
ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION , DENYING
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT , AND
GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
("SSA") denied Jonathan Scott Bombard's
("Bombard") application for Supplemental Security
Income and Disability Insurance Benefits in a decision issued
by an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ").
See Administrative Record ("A.R.") 36-51,
ECF 7-2, PgID 69-81. After the SSA Appeals Council declined
to review the ruling, Bombard appealed. The Court referred
the matter to Magistrate Judge Majzoub, and the parties filed
cross-motions for summary judgment. See ECF 10, 11.
The magistrate judge issued a Report and Recommendation (the
"Report") suggesting that the Court deny
Bombard's motion and grant the Commissioner's motion.
ECF 12, PgID 504. Bombard filed timely objections to the
Report. ECF 13. After examining the record and considering
Bombard's objections de novo, the Court concludes that
his arguments lack merit. Accordingly, the Court will adopt
the Report's findings, deny Bombard's motion for
summary judgment, grant the Commissioner's motion for
summary judgment, and dismiss the complaint.
magistrate judge found that the Bombard's motion for
summary judgment, ECF 10, PgID 465-69, and the ALJ's
summary, ECF 7-2, PgID 74-81, properly summarized
Bombard's medical record. ECF 12, PgID 505. The Court
independently reviewed the record and agrees. The Court,
therefore, incorporates by reference the factual recitations
Rule 72(b) governs the review of a magistrate judge's
report. A district court's standard of review depends
upon whether a party files objections. The Court need not
undertake any review of portions of a Report to which no
party has objected. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 153
(1985). De novo review is required, however, if the parties
"serve and file specific written objections to the
proposed findings and recommendations." Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b)(2). In conducting de novo review, "[t]he district
judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommended
disposition; receive further evidence; or return the matter
to the magistrate judge with instructions." Fed.R.Civ.P.
reviewing a case under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the Court
"must affirm the Commissioner's conclusions absent a
determination that the Commissioner has failed to apply the
correct legal standards or has made findings of fact
unsupported by substantial evidence in the record."
Longworth v. Comm'r Soc. Sec. Admin., 402 F.3d
591, 595 (6th Cir. 2005) (quotations omitted). Substantial
evidence consists of "more than a scintilla of evidence
but less than a preponderance" such that a
"reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion." Rogers v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007) (quotations omitted). An
ALJ may consider the entire body of evidence without directly
addressing each piece in his decision. Kornecky v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 167 Fed.Appx. 496, 508 (6th
Cir. 2006). "Nor must an ALJ make explicit credibility
findings as to each bit of conflicting testimony, so long as
his factual findings as a whole show that he implicitly
resolved such conflicts." Id.
first objects to the magistrate judge's determination
that the ALJ did not err when considering the weight to give
the opinions of Bombard's treating physician. ECF 13,
PgID 519. Under the treating physician rule, the Commissioner
mandates that the ALJ "will" give a treating
source's opinion controlling weight if it "is
well-supported by medically acceptable clinical and
laboratory diagnostic techniques and is not inconsistent with
the other substantial evidence in [the] case record." 20
C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(2). When a medical opinion is not
given controlling weight, the ALJ considers the following
factors in deciding the weight to give to the opinion: (1)
examining relationship; (2) treatment relationship, including
its length, nature, extent, and the frequency of
examinations; (3) supportability; (4) consistency; (5)
specialization; and (6) other factors. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1527(c); see also Miller v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 811 F.3d 825, 836-37 (6th Cir. 2016).
contends that the magistrate judge and ALJ afforded too
little weight to the medical opinion of his treating source.
Dr. Schell, a surgeon, performed an operation on
Bombard's back and conducted post-operative
analyses. There is no "medical opinion" on
the Record from Dr. Schell. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(a)(1)
(defining a "medical opinion" as statements from a
medical source reflecting judgments about the nature and
severity of a patient's impairments-such as symptoms,
diagnosis and prognosis; what a patient can still do despite
the impairments; "and [a patient's]
physical or mental restrictions") (emphasis added). Dr.
Schell's progress notes detail merely the nature and
severity of Bombard's impairments. Dr. Schell's notes
lack any analysis of what Bombard can still do or
Bombard's physical and mental restrictions. See
AR 404-05, ECF 7-7.
Sankaran's note, however, provides the closest equivalent
to a medical opinion. Dr. Sankaran conducted an evaluation of
Bombard for the Social Security Administration. See
AR 306-08, ECF 7-7. Dr. Sankaran is not a "treating
source;" his medical opinions, therefore, are not
afforded more weight. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1527(a)(2)
and (c)(2). In his notes, Dr. Sankaran reports that:
"[Bombard] has a work restriction from Dr. Schell not to
lift anything more than 20 pounds and not to do any repeated
bending, squatting, or kneeling." AR 307, ECF 7-7. The
administrative record lacks any reference made by Dr. Schell
about a work restriction. Despite that fact, the ALJ took
into account Dr. Sankaran's notes and incorporated them
into the RFC. Bombard has failed to show that the ALJ failed
to comply with the Social Security Administration's
requirements for weighting medical opinions.
next contends that the magistrate judge erred by determining
that the ALJ's decision to ignore completely
Bombard's anxiety was permissible. ECF 13, PgID 520. If
an ALJ finds a severe impairment, he must consider "the
combined effect of all impairments . . . even if other
impairments would not be severe." White v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec.312 Fed.Appx. 779, 787 (6th Cir.
2009). In doing so, the ALJ will consider all of a
plaintiff's "medically determinable
impairments." 20 C.F.R. § 404.1545(a)(2). The ALJ
"will consider only impairment(s) you say you have or
about which [the Commissioner] receives ...