United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Patricia T. Morris United States Magistrate Judge
OPINION AND ORDER: (1) OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S
OBJECTIONS (ECF NO. 17); (2) ADOPTING THE REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE PATRICIA T. MORRIS (ECF
NO. 16); (3) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 10); (4) GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 15); and (5) AFFIRMING THE
FINDINGS OF THE COMMISSIONER
D. Borman, United States District Judge.
August 27, 2019, Magistrate Judge Patricia T. Morris issued a
Report and Recommendation (R&R) addressing the
cross-motions for summary judgment in this action. (ECF No.
16, R&R.) In the R&R, Magistrate Judge Morris
recommended that the Court deny Plaintiff's February 18,
2019 Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 10), grant
Defendant's May 16, 2019 Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF
No. 15), and affirm the findings of the Commissioner.
before the Court are Plaintiff's Objections to the
R&R. (ECF No. 17, Objections.) Defendant filed a timely
Response. (ECF No. 18, Response.) Having conducted a de
novo review of the parts of the Magistrate Judge's
R&R to which objections have been filed pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the Court will reject Plaintiffs
Objections, adopt the Magistrate Judge's R&R, and
affirm the findings of the Commissioner.
Court has reviewed the Magistrate Judge's extensive
summary of the background of this case in light of the record
and finds that it is accurate. (ECF No. 16, R&R, PgID
937-38, 941-61.) In addition, plaintiff has not specifically
objected to the background section of the R&R. Therefore,
the Court adopts the background section in full.
Standard of review
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) and 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1), the Court conducts a de novo review of
the portions of the Magistrate Judge's R&R to which a
party has filed “specific written objections” in
a timely manner. Lyons v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
351 F.Supp.2d 659, 661 (E.D. Mich. 2004). A district court
“may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part,
the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate
judge.” Id. Only 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 omitted). A general objection, or
one that merely restates arguments previously presented, does
not sufficiently identify alleged errors on the part of the
magistrate judge. An “objection” that does
nothing more than disagree with a magistrate judge's
determination “without explaining the source of the
error” is not a valid objection. Howard v.
Sec'y of Health and Human Servs., 932 F.2d 505, 509
(6th Cir. 1991).
Court's review of the findings of the Administrative Law
Judge (ALJ) is limited to determining whether those findings
are supported by substantial evidence and made pursuant to
proper legal standards. See Rogers v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing 42
U.S.C. § 405(h)); see also Cutlip v. Sec'y of
Health and Human Servs., 25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir.
1994). Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence
as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Kyle v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
609 F.3d 847, 854 (6th Cir. 2010). It is “more than a
scintilla of evidence but less than a preponderance.”
McGlothin v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 299 Fed.Appx.
516, 522 (6th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted).
“If the Commissioner's decision is supported by
substantial evidence, [the court] must defer to that
decision, ‘even if there is substantial evidence in the
record that would have supported an opposite conclusion.'
” Colvin v. Barnhart, 475 F.3d 727, 730 (6th
Cir. 2007) (quoting Longworth v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.
Admin., 402 F.3d 591, 595 (6th Cir. 2005)).
whether proper legal criteria were followed, a decision of
the Social Security Administration (SSA) supported by
substantial evidence will not be upheld “where the SSA
fails to follow its own regulations and where that error
prejudices a claimant on the merits or deprives the claimant
of a substantial right” Bowen v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 478 F.3d 742, 746 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing
Wilson v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 378 F.3d 541,
546-47 (6th Cir. 2004)).
Court does not “try the case de novo, nor resolve
conflicts in the evidence, nor decide questions of
credibility.” Cutlip, 25 F.3d at 286.
“It is of course for the ALJ, and not the reviewing
court, to evaluate the credibility of witnesses, including
that of the claimant.” Rogers, 486 F.3d at
247; see also Cruse v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 502
F.3d 532, 542 (6th Cir. 2007) (noting that the
“ALJ's credibility determinations about the
claimant are to be given great weight, ‘particularly
since the ALJ is charged with observing the claimant's
demeanor and credibility' ”) (quoting Walters
v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 127 F.3d 525, 531 (6th Cir.
has submitted two objections to Magistrate Judge Morris's
R&R. First, he argues that the ALJ's decision was not
supported by substantial evidence. (ECF No. 17, Objections,
PgID 995-98.) Second, he argues that the Magistrate erred in
upholding the ALJ's residual functional capacity (RFC)
determination that Mr. Colbert could perform light work
despite needing a cane for ambulation. (Id. at PgID.
998-99.) Both of these objections fail to pinpoint a
“specific deficiency” in the R&R and will be
rejected. Cf. Schmidt v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
No. 14-13885, 2016 WL 491711, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 2, 2016)
(“Defendants objections advance the same arguments that
[the Magistrate Judge] has already rejected without pointing
to a specific deficiency in the Magistrate Judge's
objections are “essentially reiterations” of
arguments that Mr. Colbert presented to Magistrate Judge
Morris in his summary judgment brief. (Compare ECF
No. 17, Objections, PgID 996-99 with ECF No. 10,
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, PgID 859-60,
864-66.) In fact, Mr. Colbert re-uses entire passages from
his summary judgment brief in his objections to the
Magistrate Judge's report. (See ECF No. 17,
Objections, PgID 997-98, 998-99; ECF No. 10, Plaintiff's
Motion for Summary Judgment, PgID 864, 865, 866.) This
approach to raising objections is “not appropriate or
sufficient.” Pastorino v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., No. 15-10918, 2016 WL 787132, at 1 (E.D. Mich.
Feb. 29, 2016). The party objecting to an R&R has a duty
to “pinpoint” the specific portions of the report
that he or she believes was wrongly decided. Mira,
806 F.2d at 637. When the objecting party presents the same
arguments to the magistrate and then to the district court,
without identifying a specific error committed by the