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.

Miller v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

July 18, 2018

KATHLEEN J. MILLER, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          ORDER REJECTING IN PART AND ACCEPTING IN PART THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (#13), SUSTAINING IN PART AND OVERRULING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS (#14), GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (#10), DENYING IN PART AND GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (#11), AND REMANDING FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS

          GERSHWIN A. DRAIN U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         This matter is before the Court on the parties' Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment as to Plaintiff Kathleen J. Miller's request for judicial review of Defendant Commissioner of Social Security's denial of her application for disability insurance benefits. The matter was referred to Magistrate Judge Patricia T. Morris, who issued a Report and Recommendation on April 19, 2018 recommending that Ms. Miller's Motion for Summary Judgment be denied, the Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment be granted, and that the Commissioner's findings and conclusions be affirmed. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will sustain in part and overrule in part Ms. Miller's objections and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this Order.

         II. Procedural and Factual History

         Ms. Miller filed an application for disability insurance benefits on July 25, 2014, alleging a disability onset date of December 1, 2012. Her application was denied on November 6, 2014. Ms. Miller then requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), which occurred on February 25, 2016 before ALJ Martha M. Gasparovich. On March 11, 2016, the ALJ issued a decision denying Ms. Miller's claim for benefits, finding that:

[T]he claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR § 404.1567(b) except she is unable to stand/walk more than six hours in an eight-hour workday; however, sitting is unlimited, but she requires a sit/stand option at least every thirty to forty-five minutes. The claimant could lift no more than twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently. She may occasionally stoop, squat, climb, balance, crouch, crawl or kneel. The claimant requires a clean air environment free from concentrated levels of dust, fumes, chemicals, gases and other air borne irritants.

Tr. at 16. In addition, the ALJ found that Ms. Miller is capable of performing past relevant work as a vice president as generally performed (DOT 189.117-034 skilled/sedentary as generally performed-performed up to the medium exertional level). Tr. at 20-22. The Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration denied Ms. Miller's request for review of the ALJ's decision on June 23, 2017, “at which point the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security.” Wilson v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 378 F.3d 541, 544 (6th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). Ms. Miller initiated this civil action with the Court for review of the Commissioner's final decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         III. Standard of Review

         The standard of review to be employed by the Court when examining a Report and Recommendation is set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 636. This Court “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” Id. The District Court must review the administrative record as a whole, and can also consider any evidence in the record that has not been cited by the ALJ. See Walker v. Sec'y of Health and Human Servs., 884 F.2d 241, 245 (6th Cir. 1989). “A judge of the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).

         A district court may affirm, modify, or reverse the Commissioner's decision, with or without remand. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Findings of fact by the Commissioner are conclusive if supported by substantial evidence. Id. The Court must affirm the decision if it is “based on [an appropriate] legal standard and is supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole.” Studaway v. Sec' of Health and Human Servs., 815 F.2d 1074, 1076 (6th Cir. 1987). Substantial evidence is “more than a scintilla of evidence but less than a preponderance; it is such relevant evidence as 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) (citing Cutlip v. Sec'y of Health and Human Servs., 25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir. 1994)).

         IV. Discussion

         An ALJ must utilize the following five-step sequential analysis to determine whether a claimant is disabled under the meaning of the regulation. If a claimant is found to be not disabled at one step, the analysis must continue to the next step.

         At the first step, the ALJ must consider whether the claimant's work activity, if any, constitutes substantial gainful activity (“SGA”). 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(i). If it does, the claimant is not disabled. Id.

         At the second step, the ALJ must consider the medical severity of the claimant's impairment(s). Id. ยง 404.1520(a)(4)(ii). If the claimant does not have a severe medically determinable physical or mental impairment, or a combination of impairments that is ...


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.