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.

Hughes v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

July 9, 2019

CHRISTOPHER HUGHES, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

         OPINION AND ORDER ACCEPTING IN PART AND REJECTING IN PART THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S MARCH 20, 2019 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [18] DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [11]; AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [16]

          Nancy G. Edmunds United States District Judge.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff 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).

         II. Standard of Review

         A. De Novo Review of Objections

         Under 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. § 636(b)(1).

         B. Substantial Evidence Standard

         “This [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)).

         If the 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)).

         III. Analysis

         Plaintiff 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.

         A. Plaintiff's First Argument

         No 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 ...


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.