United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
AND ORDER ACCEPTING IN PART AND REJECTING IN PART THE
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S MARCH 20, 2019 REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION  DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT ; AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT 
G. Edmunds United States District Judge.
filed this action seeking review of the Commissioner of
Social Security's decision denying his applications for
disability insurance and supplemental security income. The
Court referred the matter to the Magistrate Judge, who
recommends granting in part and denying in part
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, denying
Defendant's motion for summary judgment, and remanding
the case to the Commissioner pursuant to sentence four of 42
U.S.C. § 405(g). (Dkt. 18.) Defendant raises one
objection to the Magistrate Judge's report and
recommendation, and Plaintiff has responded to that
objection. (Dkts. 19, 20.) Having conducted a de
novo review of the part of the Magistrate Judge's
report to which a specific objection has been filed, the
Court SUSTAINS Defendant's objection. Therefore, the
Court ACCEPTS AND ADOPTS IN PART AND REJECTS IN PART the
Magistrate Judge's report and REJECTS her recommendation.
For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (dkt. 11); GRANTS
Defendant's motion for summary judgment (dkt. 16); and
AFFIRMS the decision of the Commissioner of the Social
Security pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Standard of Review
De Novo Review of Objections
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(3), “[t]he
district judge must determine de novo any part of the
magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly
objected to. The district judge may accept, reject, or modify
the recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or
return the matter to the magistrate judge with
instructions.” See also 28 U.S.C. §
Substantial Evidence Standard
[C]ourt 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) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)).
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) (quoting Cutlip v. Sec'y of Health & Human
Servs., 25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir. 1994)).
Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial
evidence, it must be affirmed, even if the reviewing court
would decide the matter differently, see Kinsella v.
Schweiker, 708 F.2d 1058, 1059 (6th Cir. 1983), and even
if substantial evidence also supports another conclusion,
Her v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 203 F.3d 388, 389-90
(6th Cir. 1999). “The substantial evidence standard
presupposes that there is a ‘zone of choice' within
which the [Commissioner] may proceed without interference
from the courts.” Felisky v. Bowen, 35 F.3d
1027, 1035 (6th Cir. 1994) (quoting Mullen v. Bowen,
800 F.2d 535, 545 (6th Cir. 1986)).
raised three issues in his motion for summary judgment: 1)
whether the ALJ erred in failing to find that his impairments
meet or equal Listings 1.02B or 1.04A, 2) whether the ALJ
erred by discounting the opinion of his treating physician,
Dr. Rizwan, and 3) whether the ALJ erred by posing a
hypothetical question to the vocational expert that did not
include all of his functional limitations. The Magistrate
Judge found that substantial evidence supports the ALJ's
determination that Plaintiff did not meet or equal Listings
1.02B or 1.04A, but that the ALJ failed to properly weigh the
opinion of Plaintiff's treating physician and, thus, a
remand was warranted. The Magistrate Judge noted that this
finding rendered the vocational expert issue moot and
therefore did not address it.
Plaintiff's First Argument
party has objected to the Magistrate Judge's finding
regarding the first issue-that substantial evidence supports
the ALJ's determination that Plaintiff's impairments
did not meet or equal Listings 1.02B or 1.04A. “[T]he
failure to object to the magistrate judge's report
releases the Court from its duty to independently review the
matter.” Hall v. Rawal, No. 09-10933, 2012
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120541, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 24, 2012)
(citing Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985)).
The Court nevertheless ...