Manning, Jr. v. Astrue
ORDER denying 17 Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, granting 19 Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, and adopting 22 Memorandum and Recommendations. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 6/11/2013. (Sawyer, D.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
JAMES KENNETH MANNING, JR.,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security, )
On April16, 2013 Magistrate Judge Gates issued a Memorandum and Recommendation
("M&R") [D.E. 22]. In that M&R, Judge Gates recommended that the court deny plaintiff's motion
for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 17], grant defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings
[D.E. 19], and affirm defendant's final decision. On April24, 2013, plaintiff filed objections to the
M&R [D.E. 23]. On May 7, 2013, defendant responded to the objections [D.E. 24].
"The Federal Magistrates Act requires a district court to make a de novo determination of
those portions of the [magistrate judge's] report or specified proposed findings or recommendations
to which objection is made." Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F .3d 310, 315 (4th
Cir. 2005) (alteration in original) (emphasis and quotation omitted); see28 U.S.C. § 636(b). Absent
a timely objection, "a district court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must only satisfy
itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation."
Diamond, 416 F.3d at 315 (quotation omitted).
The court has reviewed the M&R, the record, and plaintiff's objections. As for those
portions of the M&R to which plaintiff made no objection, the court is satisfied that there is no
clear error on the face of the record.
The court has reviewed de novo the portions of the M&R to which plaintiff objected. The
court's review of the Commissioner's final decision regarding disability benefits is limited to
determining whether substantial evidence supports the Commissioner's factual fmdings and whether
the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards.
Walls v. Barnhart, 296 F.3d 287,
290 (4th Cir. 2002); Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d 1453, 1456 (4th Cir. 1990). Substantial evidence
is more than a mere scintilla of evidence but may be somewhat less than a preponderance. See
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971); Hancock v. Astrue, 667 F.3d 470, 472 (4th Cir.
2012); Smith v. Chater, 99 F.3d 635, 638 (4th Cir. 1996). The court may not reweigh the evidence
or substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner.
Hays, 907 F.2d at 1456. Rather,
in determining whether substantial evidence supports the Commissioner's decision, the court's
review is limited to whether the Commissioner analyzed the relevant evidence and sufficiently
explained his fmdings and rationale concerning the evidence.
See,~' Sterling Smokeless Coal Co.
v. Akers, 131 F.3d 438,439-40 (4th Cir. 1997).
Plaintiff's objections [D.E. 23] essentially restate the arguments made to Judge Gates. The
objections merit no further discussion beyond Judge Gates's analysis in the M&R, and the court
adopts the M&R. See [D.E. 22] 6-16. Thus, plaintiff's objections to the M&R [D.E. 23] are
OVERRULED, plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 17] is DENIED, defendant's
motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 19] is GRANTED, and defendant's fmal decision is
SO ORDERED. This lL day of June 2013.
Chief United States District Judge