United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
Elizabeth A. Stafford, Magistrate Judge.
ORDER OVERRULING OBJECTIONS, ADOPTING REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION, GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT, DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT, AND AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER
L. LUDINGTON, United States District Judge.
Joseph Anthony Drinkwine, Jr. brought this action for review
of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”) denying his application for
disability insurance benefits. Drinkwine filed his disability
application on October 8, 2016. ECF No. 10-2, Tr. 28. After a
hearing, the ALJ found that Drinkwine was not disabled. ECF
No. 10-2, Tr. 16-29, 36-78. The Appeals Council denied
review, making the ALJ’s decision the final decision of
the Commissioner. Id., Tr. 1-6. Drinkwine timely
filed for judicial review and his complaint was referred to
Magistrate Judge Stafford. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff and Defendant
subsequently filed separate motions for summary judgment.
Judge Stafford issued a report recommending that
Defendant’s motion be granted, Plaintiff’s motion
denied, and Plaintiff’s complaint dismissed. For the
following reasons, Judge Stafford’s recommendation will
party has objected to Judge Stafford’s summary of the
relevant background of the case. For that reason, the summary
is adopted in full. For clarity, a brief reiteration will be
provided here. The ALJ denied Plaintiff’s application
because it was determined that Plaintiff had the residual
functioning capacity (“RFC”) to perform light
work and that there was a significant number of employment
opportunities that Plaintiff could perform. In reaching this
conclusion, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff’s
condition was more limited than determined by some of
Plaintiff’s physicians. The transcript provides
The State agency psychological reviewer indicated the
claimant did not have a severe psychological impairment. That
opinion is accorded little weight. The evidence submitted
after this opinion supports moderate limitation in all four
areas of functioning. That evidence includes his suicide
attempt and need for psychological treatment.
The opinion of Dr. Dickson, an examining source, which is
consistent with no severe psychological impairments, is
accorded little weight. The record, examinations, and
evidence submitted after this opinion supports moderate
limitations in all four areas of functioning.
Tr. 27 (citations omitted).
reviewing the ALJ’s findings, Judge Stafford concluded
that the ALJ’s decision was supported by substantial
evidence because the ALJ determined that Plaintiff’s
RFC was more limited than determined by these two medical
providers, but nevertheless did not merit receiving
disability benefits. ECF No. 24 at PageID.4051. Judge
Stafford cited to three cases in which the court determined
that the ALJ’s decision finding that the plaintiff was
not disabled was supported by substantial evidence where the
ALJ determined that the RFC was more restricted than
represented by the petitioner’s physicians.
reviewing a case under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the 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) (citations omitted).
Substantial evidence is “such evidence as a reasonable
mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.”
Id. (citation omitted).
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72, a party may object to
and seek review of a Magistrate Judge’s report and
recommendation. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). Objections must be
stated with specificity. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S.
140, 151 (1985) (citation omitted). If objections are made,
“[t]he district judge must determine de novo any part
of the magistrate judge’s disposition that has been
properly objected to.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). De novo
review requires at least a review of the evidence before the
Magistrate Judge; the Court may not act solely on the basis
of a Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation.
See Hill v. Duriron Co., 656 F.2d 1208, 1215 (6th
Cir. 1981). After reviewing the evidence, the Court is free
to accept, reject, or modify the findings or recommendations
of the Magistrate Judge. See Lardie v. Birkett, 221
F.Supp.2d 806, 807 (E.D. Mich. 2002).
those objections that are specific are entitled to a de novo
review under the statute. Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d
636, 637 (6th Cir. 1986). “The parties have the duty to
pinpoint those portions of the magistrate’s report that
the district court must specially consider.”
Id. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
A general objection, or one that merely restates the
arguments previously presented, does not sufficiently
identify alleged errors on the part of the magistrate judge.
See VanDiver v. Martin, 304 F.Supp.2d 934, 937
(E.D.Mich.2004). An “objection” that does nothing
more than disagree with a magistrate judge’s
determination, “without explaining the source of the
error, ” is not considered a valid objection.
Howard v. Sec’y of Health and Human Servs.,
932 F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir. 1991). Without specific
objections, “[t]he functions of the district court are