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Harrison v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

September 17, 2019

JOSHUA J. HARRISON, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER ACCEPTING AND ADOPTING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S AUGUST 15, 2019 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [19]

          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 application for disability insurance. The Court referred the matter to the Magistrate Judge, who recommends denying Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, granting Defendant's motion for summary judgment, and affirming the Commissioner's decision. (Dkt. 19.) Plaintiff makes one objection to the Magistrate Judge's report and recommendation, and Defendant has responded to that objection. (Dkts. 20, 21.) 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 OVERRULES Plaintiff's objection and ACCEPTS and ADOPTS the report and recommendation. As a result, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 13); GRANTS Defendant's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 16); and AFFIRMS the decision of the Commissioner of 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 court 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 objects to the Magistrate Judge's finding that the ALJ did not err when she found that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or medically equal the criteria of Listing 1.04A. More specifically, Plaintiff argues that the reliance on the medical opinion of Dr. Tsai was erroneous and that the ALJ failed to discuss certain evidence in the record.

         As Defendant notes, Plaintiff is primarily rehashing arguments he made before the Magistrate Judge.

This Court is not obligated to address objections made in this form because the objections fail to identify the specific errors in the magistrate judge's proposed recommendations, and such objections undermine the purpose of the Federal Magistrate's Act, 28 U.S.C. § 636, which serves to reduce duplicative work and conserve judicial resources.

Owens v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., No. 1:12-CV-47, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44411, at *8 (W.D. Mich. Mar. 28, 2013) (citations omitted). Nonetheless, the Court has considered Plaintiff's arguments regarding whether his impairments meet Listing ...


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