United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ELIZABETH A. STAFFORD U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS ;
ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ; DENYING
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ; AND
GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
J. TARNOW SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Mary Ann Grandowicz-Racz, applied for disability insurance
benefits from the Social Security Administration on March 9,
2015. She alleged that she had been disabled since October 2,
2013. Her claims were denied, and she then requested and
received a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”). The hearing was held on September 2,
2016, in Toledo, Ohio, before ALJ Dianne S. Mantel. On August
30, 2017, the ALJ issued an opinion denying Ms.
Grandowicz-Racz's claims. [Dkt. # 7-2]. The Appeals
Council denied her request for review on May 21, 2018.
Plaintiff timely filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 405 on
June 25, 2018. [Dkt. # 1].
Grandowicz-Racz's case was assigned to Magistrate Judge
Elizabeth A. Stafford for determination of non-dispositive
motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and
issuance of a Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B) & (C). [Dkt. # 3]. Plaintiff filed her
Motion for Summary Judgment  on November 27, 2019.
Defendant filed his Motion for Summary Judgment  on
February 21, 2019. On July 12, 2019, the Magistrate Judge
issued an R&R  recommending that Defendant's
motion be granted, and that Plaintiff's motion be denied.
Plaintiff filed timely objections, to which Defendant has
reasons stated below, the Court OVERRULES
the Objections  and ADOPTS the R&R
. Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment  is
DENIED. Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment  is GRANTED.
Magistrate Judge summarized the factual background of Ms.
Grandowicz-Racz's alleged disability and claim as
Grandowicz-Racz's Background and Disability Applications
Born November 18, 1972, Grandowicz-Racz was 40 years old on
the alleged disability onset date of October 2, 2013. [ECF
No. 7-2, Tr. 10, 26]. She has past relevant work as a night
stock supervisor, stock supervisorretail, assistant retail
manager and customer service representative. [Id.,
at Tr. 26]. Grandowicz-Racz claims disability due to
scoliosis, Crohn's disease, fatigue, colitis, and lupus.
[ECF No. 7-6, Tr. 283].
After a hearing in September, 2016, during which
Grandowicz-Racz and a vocational expert (VE) testified, the
ALJ found that she was not disabled. [ECF No. 7-2, Tr.
10-99]. The Appeals Council denied review, making the
ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
[Id., Tr. 1-6]. Grandowicz-Racz timely filed for
judicial review. [ECF No. 1].
ALJ's Application of the Disability Framework Analysis
A “disability” is the “inability to engage
in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any
medically determinable physical or mental impairment which
can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can
be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
12 months.” 42 U.S.C. §§
The Commissioner determines whether an applicant is disabled
by analyzing five sequential steps. First, if the applicant
is “doing substantial gainful activity, ” he or
she will be found not disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(a)(4); 416.920(a)(4). Second, if the claimant has
not had a severe impairment or a combination of such
impairments for a continuous period of at least 12 months, no
disability will be found. Id. Third, if the
claimant's severe impairments meet or equal the criteria
of an impairment set forth in the Commissioner's Listing
of Impairments, the claimant will be found disabled.
Id. If the fourth step is rea 4 the Commissioner if
the fifth step is reached. Preslar v. Sec'y of Health
& Human Servs., 14 F.3d 1107, 1110 (6th Cir. 1994).
Applying this framework, the ALJ concluded that
Grandowicz-Racz was not disabled. At the first step, she
found that Grandowicz-Racz had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since the alleged onset date of October 2,
2013. [ECF No. 7-2, Tr. 13]. At the second step, she found
that Grandowicz-Racz had the severe impairments of
“Crohn's disease, Crohn's-related
arthritis/inflammatory arthritis; lumbar degenerative disc
disease; and psychological conditions variously described as
anxiety and depression.” [Id.]. Next, the ALJ