Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

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.

Henman v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

July 8, 2019





         Plaintiff Marianne Henman seeks judicial review of Defendant Commissioner of Social Security's determination that she is not entitled to social security benefits for her physical and mental impairments under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (Docket no. 1.) Before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (docket no. 11) and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (docket no. 15). Plaintiff has also filed an answer and brief in response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Docket no. 16.) The motions have been referred to the undersigned for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). (Docket no. 3.) The undersigned has reviewed the pleadings, dispenses with a hearing pursuant to Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(f)(2), and issues this Report and Recommendation.


         For the reasons that follow, it is recommended that Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (docket no. 11) be DENIED and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (docket no. 15) be GRANTED.


         Plaintiff protectively filed applications for a period of disability, disability insurance benefits, and supplemental security income on March 12, 2015, alleging that she has been disabled since January 6, 2015, due to shoulder surgery, bilateral shoulder pain, a broken vertebra in her neck, and numbness. (TR 11, 85-86, 185-97, 210.) The Social Security Administration denied Plaintiff's claims on August 4, 2015, and Plaintiff requested a de novo hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). (TR 59-86, 123-28.) On February 7, 2017, Plaintiff appeared with a representative and testified at a hearing before ALJ Paul W. Jones. (TR 26-58.) The ALJ subsequently issued an unfavorable decision on March 10, 2017, and the Appeals Council declined to review the ALJ's decision. (TR 1-6, 11-20.) Plaintiff then commenced this action for judicial review, and the parties filed cross motions for summary judgment, which are currently before the court.


         Plaintiff (docket no. 11 at 6-9) and the ALJ (TR 13-18) have set forth detailed, factual summaries of Plaintiff's medical record; the ALJ also summarized the hearing testimony (TR 17, 19). Defendant incorporates by reference the ALJ's recitation of the facts into her brief. (Docket no. 15 at 4.) Having conducted an independent review of Plaintiff's medical record and the hearing transcript, the undersigned finds that there are no material inconsistencies between these recitations of the record. Therefore, in lieu of re-summarizing this information, the undersigned will incorporate the above-cited factual recitations by reference and will also make references and citations to the record as necessary to address the parties' arguments throughout this Report and Recommendation.


         The ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date of January 6, 2015, and that Plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments: C6 fracture, bilateral shoulder status post arthroplasties, seizure disorder, depression, anxiety, and alcohol abuse. (TR 13-15.) Additionally, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or medically equal the severity of an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (TR 15-16.) The ALJ then found that Plaintiff had the following residual functional capacity (RFC):

[C]laimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b), except that she can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; frequently climb ramps or stairs, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl; with no exposure to hazards; occasional exposure to vibration; in simple, routine, repetitive work; with occasional changes in the work setting.

(TR 16-18.) Subsequently, in reliance on a vocational expert's (VE's) testimony, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff was capable of performing a significant number of jobs in the national economy. (TR 19.) Therefore, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled under the Social Security Act at any time from January 6, 2015, through the date of the decision. (TR 11, 19-20.)


         A. Standard of Review

         Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court has jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's final decisions. Judicial review of the Commissioner's decisions is limited to determining whether his findings are supported by substantial evidence and whether he employed the proper legal standards. See Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971); Walters v. Comm'r, 127 F.3d 525, 528 (6th Cir. 1997). Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla but less than a preponderance; it is “‘such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.'” Richardson, 402 U.S. at 401 (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)); Walters, 127 F.3d at 528. It is not the function of this Court to try cases de novo, resolve conflicts in the evidence, or decide questions of credibility. See Brainard v. Sec'y of Health and Human Servs., 889 F.2d 679, 681 (6th Cir. 1989); Garner v. Heckler, 745 F.2d 383, 387 (6th Cir. 1984).

         In determining the existence of substantial evidence, the court must examine the administrative record as a whole. See Kirk v. Sec'y of Health and Human Servs., 667 F.2d 524, 536 (6th Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 461 U.S. 957 (1983). If the Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial evidence, it must be affirmed, even if the reviewing court would decide the matter differently, Kinsella v. Schweiker, 708 F.2d 1058, 1059 (6th Cir. 1983), and even if substantial evidence also supports the opposite conclusion. See Her v. Comm'r, 203 F.3d 388, 389-90 (6th Cir. 1999); Mullen v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 535, 545 (6th Cir. 1986) (en banc) (noting that the substantial evidence standard “presupposes that there is a zone of choice within which the decisionmakers can go either way, without interference by the courts”). “But ‘[a]n ALJ's failure to follow agency rules and regulations denotes a lack of substantial evidence, even where the conclusion of the ALJ may be justified based upon the record.'” Gayheart v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 710 F.3d 365, 374 (6th Cir. 2013) (quoting Cole v. Astrue, 661 F.3d 931, 937 (6th Cir. 2011)).

         B. Framework for Social ...

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.