United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
AMANDA L. THRUSHMAN, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
Mona K. Majzoub Judge.
ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS, ADOPTING
THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT, AND AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE
L. LUDINGTON, United States District Judge
Amanda L. Thrushman (Plaintiff) applied for disability
benefits on May 13, 2014 alleging disabilities beginning
March 1, 2012. Her application was initially denied on
September 4, 2014. Plaintiff requested a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The hearing was held on
December 3, 2015, after which the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff was not disabled. The Appeals Council denied
review. Plaintiff sought review in this Court on January 30,
2017. The case was referred to Magistrate Judge Mona K.
Majzoub. The parties filed cross motions for summary
judgment. Judge Majzoub issued a report recommending that the
Court grant Defendant's motion and deny Plaintiff's
motion. Plaintiff filed timely objections to Judge
Majzoub's report and recommendation.
Majzoub reviewed Plaintiff's factual summary (ECF No. 18
at 6-12) as well as the ALJ's factual summary (TR. at
18-20, 21). She determined that both summaries were
consistent with the evidentiary record and therefore
incorporated both by reference. Rep. & Rec. at 2. As
neither party has objected to those factual summaries, they
will be incorporated by reference herein as well. Notably,
the ALJ found that Plaintiff met the insured status
requirements of the Social Security Act and that Plaintiff
had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the
alleged onset of the disability. TR. at 15. The ALJ found
that Plaintiff suffered from the following severe
impairments: degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine,
fibromyalgia, Grave's disease/hyperthyroidism, and
migraine headaches. Id. The ALJ ultimately
determined that Plaintiff was unable to perform past relevant
work under 20 CFR 404.1565, but that she had the residual
functional capacity (RFC) to perform light work as defined in
20 CFR 404.1567(b). Id. at 17-20.
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.”
Walters v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 127 F.3d 525,
528 (6th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted). Substantial evidence
is “such evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.” Id.
the Social Security Act (“The Act”), a claimant
is entitled to disability benefits if he can demonstrate that
he is in fact disabled. Colvin v. Barnhart, 475 F.3d
727, 730 (6th Cir. 2007). Disability is defined by the Act as
an “inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or
which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous
period of not less than 12 months.” 42 U.S.C. §
423(d)(1)(A); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1505, 416.05. A
plaintiff carries the burden of establishing that he meets
this definition. 42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(5)(A); see
also Dragon v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 470 F. App'x
454, 459 (6th Cir. 2012).
federal regulations outline a five-step sequential process to
determine whether an individual qualifies as disabled:
First, the claimant must demonstrate that he has not engaged
in substantial gainful activity during the period of
disability. Second, the claimant must show that he suffers
from a severe medically determinable physical or mental
impairment. Third, if the claimant shows that his impairment
meets or medically equals one of the impairments listed in 20
C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt. P, App. 1, he is deemed disabled.
Fourth, the ALJ determines whether, based on the
claimant's residual functional capacity, the claimant can
perform his past relevant work, in which case the claimant is
not disabled. Fifth, the ALJ determines whether, based on the
claimant's residual functional capacity, as well as his
age, education, and work experience, the claimant can make an
adjustment to other work, in which case the claimant is not
Courter v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 479 F. App'x
713, 719 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Wilson v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 378 F.3d 541, 548 (6th Cir. 2004)). Through
Step Four, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving the
existence and severity of limitations caused by his
impairments and the fact that he is precluded from performing
his past relevant work. At Step Five, the burden shifts to
the Commissioner to identify a significant number of jobs in
the economy that accommodate the claimant's residual
functional capacity (determined at step four) and vocational
profile. See Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S.
137, 146 n. 5 (1987).
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72, a party may object to
and seek review of a Magistrate Judge's report and
recommendation. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). Objections must be
stated with specificity. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S.
140, 151 (1985) (citation omitted). If objections are made,
“[t]he district judge must determine de novo any part
of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been
properly objected to.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). De novo
review requires at least a review of the evidence before the
Magistrate Judge; the Court may not act solely on the basis
of a Magistrate Judge's report and recommendation.
See Hill v. Duriron Co., 656 F.2d 1208, 1215 (6th
Cir. 1981). After ...