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. 22); (2) ADOPTING THE REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE PATRICIA T. MORRIS (ECF
NO. 21); (3) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 16); (4) GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 20); and (5) AFFIRMING THE
FINDINGS OF THE COMMISSIONER
D. BORMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
September 23, 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.
21, R&R.) In the R&R, Magistrate Judge Morris
recommended that the Court deny Plaintiff's March 8, 2019
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 16), grant
Defendant's May 23, 2019 Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF
No. 20), and affirm the findings of the Commissioner.
before the Court are Plaintiff's Objections to the
R&R. (ECF No. 22, Objections.) Defendant, after receiving
an extension, filed a timely Response. (ECF No. 26,
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 rejects Plaintiffs Objections, adopts
the Magistrate Judge's R&R, and affirms 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. 21, R&R, PgID
682-83, 686-707.) 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)). SSA regulations establish a
“five-step sequential evaluation process” for
making a disability determination. 20 C.F.R. §§
(i) At the first step, we consider your work activity, if
any. If you are doing substantial gainful activity, we will
find that you are not disabled. (See paragraph (b) of this
(ii) At the second step, we consider the medical severity of
your impairment(s). If you do not have a severe medically
determinable physical or mental impairment that meets the
duration requirement in § 416.909, or a combination of
impairments that is severe and meets the duration
requirement, we will find that you are not disabled. (See
paragraph (c) of this section.)
(iii) At the third step, we also consider the medical
severity of your impairment(s). If you have an impairment(s)
that meets or equals one of our listings in appendix 1 to
subpart P of part 404 of this chapter and meets the duration
requirement, we will find that you are disabled. (See
paragraph (d) of this section.)
(iv) At the fourth step, we consider our assessment of your
residual functional capacity and your past relevant work. If
you can still do your past relevant work, we will find that
you are not disabled. See paragraphs ...