United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
RUBEN M. HERNANDEZ, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
ORDER ACCEPTING AND ADOPTING THE MAGISTRATE
JUDGE'S JULY 11, 2019 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
G. EDMUNDS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is the Magistrate Judge's July 11, 2019
Report and Recommendation. (ECF No. 17.) The Magistrate Judge
recommends that the Court deny Plaintiff's motion for
summary judgment, grant Defendant's motion for summary
judgment, and affirm the findings of the Commissioner of
Social Security. Plaintiff raises two objections to the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation. (ECF No.
18.) Defendant opposes Plaintiff's objections. (ECF No.
19.) The Court has conducted a de novo review of
Plaintiff's objections. For the reasons set forth below,
the Court OVERRULES Plaintiff's
objections, ACCEPTS and
ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation, and GRANTS Defendant's
motion for summary judgment, DENIES
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, and
AFFIRMS the decision of the Commissioner of
Standard of Review
Court performs a de novo review of those portions of
the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation to which
Plaintiff has objected. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); 28 U.S.C. §
636(b). The Court need not and does not perform a de novo
review of the report's unobjected-to findings. Thomas
v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985). Moreover, an objection
that “does nothing more than state a disagreement with
a magistrate's suggested resolution, or simply summarizes
what has been presented before, is not an
‘objection' as that term is used in this
context.” Aldrich v. Bock, 327 F.Supp. 2d.
743, 747 (E.D. Mich. 2004). Indeed, the purpose of an
objection to a report and recommendation is to provide the
Court “with the opportunity to consider the specific
contentions of the parties and to correct any errors
immediately.” Id. (quoting United States
v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947, 949-50 (6th Cir.1981)).
Objection one: whether the Magistrate Judge failed to
consider Plaintiff's use of a cane.
first objection, Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge
erred by failing to find that the ALJ erred in concluding
that Plaintiff could perform his past work as a
rehabilitation case aide despite his alleged need for a cane.
Plaintiff's objection is overruled. As an initial matter,
much of Plaintiff's objection improperly focuses on
alleged issues with the ALJ's findings as opposed to
raising specific objections to the Magistrate Judge's
conclusions. But to the extent Plaintiff raises valid
objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation, his objections are without merit.
found that Plaintiff had the RFC to perform light work, which
included his prior occupation, without the use of a cane. As
the Magistrate Judge observed, the ALJ relied on the opinions
of Dr. Cynthia Shelby and Dr. William Jackson to support this
finding. While the doctors acknowledged Plaintiff needed a
cane to reduce pain, the doctors did not opine that a cane
was clinically required or needed for ambulation. And as the
Magistrate Judge found, Plaintiff offers no medical evidence
to contradict the ALJ's reliance on these opinions.
Plaintiff similarly fails to offer any medical evidence
indicating that a doctor opined that Plaintiff's pain
when he was not using a cane prevented him from performing
his former job. Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge correctly
found that substantial evidence supports the ALJ's
determination that Plaintiff can perform light work without
the use of a cane.
as the Magistrate Judge found, the vocational expert
testified that Plaintiff could meet the requirements of his
past relevant work even if he needed to use a cane to
ambulate. Plaintiff ignores this testimony in raising his
objection. But this testimony means that even if the ALJ
erred in concluding that Plaintiff did not medically need a
cane for ambulation, such an error would be harmless under
the facts and circumstances presented here.
Objection two: whether the Magistrate Judge erred in finding
that Plaintiff could perform his prior work.
second objection, Plaintiff argues the Magistrate Judge erred
in finding that the ALJ did not err in concluding that
Plaintiff could meet the requirements of his past work as
generally performed. Plaintiff states that the Magistrate
Judge mischaracterizes his argument on this issue
notwithstanding the Magistrate Judge's direct quotation
from Plaintiff's briefing. Plaintiff contends that his
true argument is that the VE did not testify that Plaintiff
could perform his job as generally performed. Plaintiff's
objection, however, is contradicted by the record. As the
Commissioner points out, the VE testified that a person with
Plaintiff's background and RFC could perform
Plaintiff's former job, both actually and as generally
performed. Plaintiff's objection on this issue is
further argues that the Magistrate Judge failed to adequately
consider Plaintiff's claim that he cannot perform the
requirements of his past relevant work because he does not
have a driver's license. But the Magistrate Judge did
consider and address this argument. And the Magistrate Judge
found that the VE did not testify that Plaintiff's prior
work, as generally performed, required driving.
Plaintiff's objection on this issue is without merit and
above-stated reasons, and for the reasons provided in the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, the Court
OVERRULES Plaintiff's objections,
ACCEPTS and ADOPTS the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation,
DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for Summary
Judgment; GRANTS ...