United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMDATION (ECF NO.
CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
August 16, 2019, Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis
issued a report and recommendation in this action for social
security disability insurance benefits. Magistrate Judge
Davis recommends that the court deny Plaintiff’s motion
for summary judgment, grant the Commissioner’s motion
for summary judgment, and affirm the Commissioner’s
decision. Plaintiff, William Joseph Sadler, filed objections
to the report and recommendation, to which the Commissioner
respect to reports and recommendations from magistrate
judges, this court “shall make a de novo determination
of those portions of the report or specified proposed
findings or recommendations to which objection is
made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). The court
“may accept, reject or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings or recommendations made by the magistrate.”
reviewing a case under the Social Security Act, the district
court may affirm, modify, or reverse the Commissioner’s
decision, with or without remand. See 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). Findings of fact by the Commissioner are
conclusive if supported by substantial evidence. Id.
The court “must affirm the Commissioner’s
decision if it ‘is supported by substantial evidence
and was made pursuant to proper legal
standards.’” Rabbers v. Comm’r of Soc.
Sec., 582 F.3d 647, 651 (6th Cir. 2009) (citation
omitted). “The substantial-evidence standard is met if
a ‘reasonable mind might accept the relevant evidence
as adequate to support a conclusion.’”
Blakley v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 581 F.3d 399,
406 (6th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). “When deciding
under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) whether substantial evidence
supports the ALJ’s decision, we do not try the case de
novo, resolve conflicts in evidence, or decide questions of
credibility.” Bass v. McMahon, 499 F.3d 506,
509 (6th Cir. 2007).
application for social security disability benefits was
denied after a hearing before an administrative law judge,
which became the final decision of the Commissioner. The ALJ
found that Plaintiff suffers from the following severe
impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar and
cervical spine; right shoulder degenerative joint disease and
rotator cuff tear; irritable bowel syndrome; osteoporosis;
osteoarthritis; a depressive disorder; “NOS”; and
concluded that although Plaintiff could not return to his
past relevant work as an automobile mechanic and welder, he
had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to
perform light work, with certain restrictions. Magistrate
Judge Davis, upon review of the record and the parties’
cross-motions for summary judgment, recommends that the court
affirm the Commissioner’s decision. Plaintiff raises
several objections to the magistrate judge’s report and
argues that the ALJ erred by adopting a previously determined
RFC and by not discussing the functional impairments caused
by his osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. The magistrate judge
correctly found that the ALJ did not blindly adopt the
previous RFC, but gave the evidence a “fresh
look.” See ECF No. 10-2 at PageID 60
(“[A]ll of the new evidence has been considered in
evaluating the claimant’s residual functional capacity
since the alleged onset date.”); ECF No. 18 at PageID
727-30. See also Earley v. Comm’r of Soc.
Sec., 893 F.3d 929, 931 (6th Cir. 2018); Kamphaus v.
Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 2018 WL 3800243 at *5 (E.D.
Mich. Jul. 23, 2018) (no error in adopting previous RFC when
ALJ considered new evidence).
Plaintiff’s osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, he has not
pointed to evidence that these impairments have caused any
additional functional limitations. See Griffeth v.
Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 217 Fed.Appx. 425, 429 (6th
Cir. 2007) (“A claimant’s severe impairment may
or may not affect his or her functional capacity to work. One
does not necessarily establish the other.”) (citation
omitted). Although Plaintiff suggests that the ALJ must
explain “how he determined that Plaintiff’s new
severe impairments would not result in any additional
functional limitations, ” it is Plaintiff’s
burden to establish his RFC. Jordan v. Comm’r of
Soc. Sec., 548 F.3d 417, 423 (6th Cir. 2008) (claimant
“retains the burden of proving her lack of residual
functional capacity”). Plaintiff has not demonstrated
additional functional limitations as a result of his
osteoarthritis or osteoporosis; accordingly, the ALJ and
magistrate judge did not err in this regard.
further argues that the ALJ improperly relied on
Plaintiff’s daily activities in formulating the RFC and
did not account for the limitations to which Plaintiff
testified. The ALJ found that Plaintiff’s
“statements concerning the intensity, persistence and
limiting effects of [his] symptoms are not entirely
consistent with the medical evidence and other evidence in
the record.” ECF No. 10-2 at PageID 62. Plaintiff does
not challenge this credibility determination. Moreover, the
ALJ properly considered Plaintiff’s daily activities in
evaluating his subjective complaints and RFC. Warner v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 375 F.3d 387, 392 (6th Cir.
2004) (“The administrative law judge justifiably
considered Warner’s ability to conduct daily life
activities in the face of his claim of disabling
pain.”). In sum, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that
the ALJ failed to consider new evidence or otherwise erred in
determining his RFC.
also argues that the ALJ erred in determining his RFC because
the ALJ did not obtain a medical opinion. However, the Sixth
Circuit has repeatedly held that an ALJ is not required to
base the RFC on a physician’s opinion, because to do so
“would, in effect, confer upon the treating source the
authority to make the determination or decision about whether
an individual is under a disability, and thus would be an
abdication of the Commissioner’s statutory
responsibility to determine whether an individual is
disabled.” Rudd v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
531 Fed.Appx. 719, 728 (6th Cir. 2013). See also Tucker
v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 775 Fed.Appx. 220, 226 (6th
Cir. 2019) (“No bright-line rule exists in our circuit
directing that ...