United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Timothy L. White, Plaintiff,
Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
ORDER ADOPTING 3/8/2019 REPORT AND
F. COX, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
filed this action seeking judicial review of Defendant
Commissioner of Social Security's unfavorable decision
denying his claim for Title II disability insurance benefits.
The matter was referred to Magistrate Judge Patricia T.
Morris for determination of all non-dispositive motions
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and a Report and
Recommendation pursuant to § 636(b)(1)(B) and (C).
Thereafter, both parties moved for a remand, agreeing that
the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) had failed
to fully address Plaintiff's post-traumatic stress
disorder (“PTSD”). The sole point of dispute
between the parties' motions was whether a different ALJ
should be assigned to the case on remand due to the present
ALJ's alleged bias.
March 8, 2019, Judge Morris issued a Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) (ECF No. 14) wherein
she recommends that the Court (1) grant Defendant's
motion (and Plaintiff's motion to the extent it seeks
remand rather than outright reversal and an award of
benefits); (2) vacate the Commissioner's final decision
denying benefits; and (3) remand the case to the Commissioner
under “sentence four” of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)
without ordering that a new ALJ handle the case.
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b), a party objecting to the recommended
disposition of a matter by a Magistrate Judge must file
objections to the R&R within fourteen (14) days after
being served with a copy of the R&R. “The district
judge to whom the case is assigned shall make a de
novo determination upon the record, or after additional
evidence, of any portion of the magistrate judge's
disposition to which specific written objection has been
March 22, 2019, Plaintiff filed timely objections to the
R&R. (ECF No. 15). Defendant filed a response to those
objections on March 28, 2019. (ECF No. 16).
only objection is to Judge Morris's conclusion that the
Court should not grant his request for a new ALJ. Plaintiff
is a former Marine, who was present during the 1983 bombing
of the Marines barracks in Beirut. During the hearing with
the ALJ, the following exchange occurred, which forms the
basis of the alleged bias:
ALJ You're diagnosed with PSTD [sic]. What are you PSTD
Plaintiff Nigtmares, vision, reliving, regrets.
ALJ What are you reliving?
Plaintiff Well now that I've come to realize that these
problems I had of these people that I lost, ultimately you
have to relive this. You have to find some kind of solution,
some kind of happy medium. Although I don't think you can
ever resolve it, but I know when I lost 243 marines and
service men [in Beirut], I felt shame and guilt. I
could've done more. Why wasn't I doing more? I had
friends even after the fact.
ALJ Were you in the dorm that was bombed?
Plaintiff No, Sir, I was guarding just past the dorm. We
weren't even allowed to load our rifles when we were
there, and if that's all the government felt about us,
well I have trouble with that too and here it is 35 years
later, no one even acknowledges Beirut. You don't hear
nothing about it. There's nothing in the history books
that documents - -
ALJ Well we got a lot of water under the dam ...