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Farmer v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

September 17, 2019

DERRICK FARMER, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          Patricia T. Morris, Magistrate Judge.

          ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (ECF #19); GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF #17); DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF #13)

          Victoria A. Roberts, United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On July 31, 2019, Magistrate Judge Patricia T. Morris issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) recommending that the Court deny Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and grant Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff timely objected (R. 13) and Commissioner replied (R. 17). The Court agrees with Magistrate Judge Morris's analysis and ADOPTS the R&R. The Court GRANTS the Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment and DENIES Plaintiff's Motion.

         II. DISCUSSION

         When a party properly objects to any part of a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, the Court reviews these portions de novo. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). The party must object to specific portions of the report, citing a specific source of error, to be entitled to de novo review. Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637 (6th Cir. 1986). This de novo review requires the court to re-examine all of the relevant evidence previously reviewed by the magistrate judge in order to determine whether the recommendation should be accepted, rejected, or modified in whole or in part. Cole v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 105 F.Supp.3d 738, 741 (E.D. Mich. 2015); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Plaintiff makes several proper objections regarding findings of the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) and Magistrate Judge. The Court addresses these in turn.

         1. The Magistrate Judge Did Not Err in Characterization of Plaintiff's Primary Complaint as Related to His Heart Problems-The ALJ Properly Addressed Complaints of Back and Knee Pain

         First Objection

         Plaintiff contends that the ALJ erred in characterizing his complaint as being mostly about health issues related to his heart, and minimized any potential disability stemming from back or knee pain. The ALJ did address Plaintiff's back and knee pain at length (R. 8 at PageID.43, 45-46) before concluding that Plaintiff “complained mostly of limitations due to his heart condition” (R. 8 at PageID 46).

         The Magistrate Judge also considered Plaintiff's back and knee complaints. R&R at 12. Given the attention to Plaintiff's back and knee problems, it cannot be said that the ALJ or Magistrate Judge ignored or dismissed this part of the Plaintiff's complaint.

         The hearing transcript reveals that the ALJ split his questions to Plaintiff about evenly between questions about Plaintiff's heart and questions relating to his back or knee (five questions about Plaintiff's heart versus seven about Plaintiff's back and knee (R. 8 at PageID.60-62)). Plaintiff also brought up his heart when questioned about his daily activity; he did not bring up his back or knee. R. 8 at PageID.63-64.

         Plaintiff's complaint that the ALJ focused on his heart problems is without merit. The Magistrate Judge properly determined that the ALJ based his conclusion on substantial evidence.

         2. The Magistrate Judge Properly Considered Errors and Found Them to Be Harmless

         Plaintiff's second, third, and fourth objections can be grouped together. Each is about a technically incorrect statement from the ALJ. The Magistrate Judge ...


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