United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Steven Whalen United States Magistrate Judge
AND ORDER (1) ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE WHALEN'S JUNE 28,
2019 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (ECF NO. 17), (2) OVERRULING
PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS (ECF NO. 18) (3) DENYING
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 13), (4)
GRANTING THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF
NO. 16), AND (5) AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE
D. BORMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
28, 2019, Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen issued a Report
and Recommendation (“Report”) to deny
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, grant
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, and affirm the
final decision of the Commissioner to deny Plaintiff's
application for Disability Insurance Benefits. (ECF No. 14,
Report and Recommendation) (“Report”). On July
12, 2019, Plaintiff filed Objections to the Report and
Recommendation. (ECF No. 18.) Defendant filed a Response to
Plaintiff's Objections. (ECF No. 19.) Having conducted a
de novo review, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1), of those parts of the Magistrate Judge's
Report and Recommendation to which specific objections have
been filed, the Court OVERRULES Plaintiff's Objections,
ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's Report, GRANTS
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 16),
DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
13), and AFFIRMS the findings of the Commissioner.
findings of the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
and the pertinent portions of the Administrative Record are
accurately and adequately cited to in the Report and the
Court incorporates those factual recitations here. (Report at
2-10, PgID 1380-88) (citing ECF No. 7, Transcript of Social
Security Proceedings passim (hereinafter “Tr.
at ”). The record evidence will be discussed in this
Opinion and Order only as necessary to the Court's
resolution of Plaintiff's Objections.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) and 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1), the Court conducts a de novo review of
the portions of the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation to which a party has filed “specific
written objection” in a timely manner. Lyons v.
Comm'r Soc. Sec., 351 F.Supp.2d 659, 661 (E.D. Mich.
2004). A district court “may accept, reject, or modify,
in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by
the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).
Only those objections that are specific are entitled to a
de novo review under the statute. Mira v.
Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637 (6th Cir. 1986). “The
parties have the duty to pinpoint those portions of the
magistrate's report that the district court must
specially consider.” Id. (quotation marks and
citation omitted). “A general objection, or one that
merely restates the arguments previously presented is not
sufficient to alert the court to alleged errors on the part
of the magistrate judge.” Aldrich v. Bock, 327
F.Supp.2d 743, 747 (E.D. Mich. 2004). “‘[B]are
disagreement with the conclusions reached by the Magistrate
Judge, without any effort to identify any specific errors in
the Magistrate Judge's analysis that, if corrected, might
warrant a different outcome, is tantamount to an outright
failure to lodge objections to the R & R.'”
Arroyo v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., No. 14-cv-14358,
2016 WL 424939, at *3 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 4, 2016) (quoting
Depweg v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., No. 14-11705,
2015 WL 5014361, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 24, 2015) (citing
Howard v. Secretary of Health & Human Services,
932 F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir. 1991)).
reviewing the findings of the ALJ, the Court is limited to
determining whether those findings are “supported by
substantial evidence” and made “pursuant to
proper legal standards.” See Rogers v. Comm'r
of Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing
42 U.S.C. § 405(h) and Cutlip v. Sec'y of Health
and Human Servs., 25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir. 1994)).
“Substantial evidence is ‘such relevant evidence
as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.'” Kyle v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 609 F.3d 847, 854 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting
Lindsley v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 560 F.3d 601,
604 (6th Cir. 2009)); see also McGlothin v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 299 Fed.Appx. 516, 522 (6th Cir. 2008)
(recognizing that substantial evidence is “more than a
scintilla of evidence but less than a preponderance”)
(internal quotation marks omitted). “If the
Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial
evidence, [the court] must defer to that decision,
‘even if there is substantial evidence in the record
that would have supported an opposite conclusion.'”
Colvin v. Barnhart, 475 F.3d 727, 730 (6th Cir.
2007) (quoting Longworth v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.
Admin., 402 F.3d 591, 595 (6th Cir. 2005)).
whether proper legal criteria were followed, a decision of
the SSA supported by substantial evidence will not be upheld
“where the SSA fails to follow its own regulations and
where that error prejudices a claimant on the merits or
deprives the claimant of a substantial right.”
Bowen v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 478 F.3d 742, 746
(6th Cir. 2007) (citing Wilson v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 378 F.3d 541, 546-47 (6th Cir. 2004)).
Court does not try the case de novo, nor resolve
conflicts in the evidence, nor decide questions of
credibility.” Cutlip, 25 F.3d at 286.
“It is of course for the ALJ, and not the reviewing
court, to evaluate the credibility of witnesses, including
that of the claimant.” Rogers, 486 F.3d at
247. See also Cruse v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 502
F.3d 532, 542 (6th Cir. 2007) (noting that the
“ALJ's credibility determinations about the
claimant are to be given great weight, ‘particularly
since the ALJ is charged with observing the claimant's
demeanor and credibility'”) (quoting Walters v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 127 F.3d 525, 531 (6th Cir.
review of the Secretary's findings must be based on the
record as a whole.” Heston v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 245 F.3d 528, 535 (6th Cir. 2001)). Therefore,
“[b]oth the court of appeals and the district court may
look to any evidence in the record, regardless of whether it
has been cited by the [ALJ].” Id. (citing
Walker v. Sec'y of Health and Human Services,
884 F.2d 241, 245 (6th Cir. 1989)). See also Conley v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., No. 13-cv-13072, 2015 WL
404229, at *10 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 29, 2015) (“The court
must examine the administrative record as a whole, and may
look to any evidence in the record, regardless of whether it
has been cited by the ALJ.”).
ALJ can consider all the evidence without directly addressing
in his written decision every piece of evidence submitted by
a party. Nor must an ALJ make explicit credibility findings
as to each bit of conflicting testimony, so long as his
factual findings as a whole show that he implicitly resolved
such conflicts.” Kornecky v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 167 Fed.Appx. 496, 508 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting
Loral Defense Systems-Akron v. N.L.R.B., 200 F.3d
436, 453 (6th Cir. 1999)).