Moreno v. Saul
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION. IT IS ORDERED that: Petitioner's Objections to the Report and Recommendation (Dkt. 30 ) are OVERRULED. The Report and Recommendation (Dkt. 29 ) is ADOPTED IN ITS ENTIRETY as the order of this Court. P etitioners Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 21 ) is DENIED. The Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED. The Court will enter a separate judgment in favor of the Commissioner in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 58. Signed by Judge B. Lynn Winmill. (caused to be mailed to non Registered Participants at the addresses listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) by (km)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF IDAHO
MICHELLE YVONNE MORENO,
Case No. 1:19-cv-00411-BLW
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT &
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of
This is a Social Security case in which the petitioner, Michelle Moreno,
appeals the Commissioner’s denial of her application for benefits. This matter is
before the Court on United States Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush’s Report &
Recommendation (Dkt. 29) and Petitioner’s Objection (Dkt. 30). For the reasons
explained below, the Court will overrule the Objection, adopt the Report &
Recommendation in its entirety, and affirm the Commissioner’s decision.
In January 2019, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) denied Moreno’s
The Court includes this brief Background section solely for ease of reference. The
factual and procedural background are more fully stated in the Report, which this Court adopts in
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT & RECOMMENDATION - 1
application for Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Security
Income benefits. See Jan. 24, 2019 Decision, Dkt. 15-2. In August 2019, the
Appeals Council denied her request for review, making the ALJ’s decision the
final decision of the Commissioner.
Moreno then filed a petition in this Court. She says that “[t]he conclusions
and findings of fact of the respondent are not supported by substantial evidence
and are contrary to law and regulation.” Petition, Dkt. 1, at 2. In particular, Moreno
argues that the ALJ failed to properly evaluate her mental illness and fibromyalgia.
Accordingly, she asks the Court to either reverse the ALJ’s decision and find that
she is entitled to disability benefits or, alternatively, remand the case for further
In March 2020, Magistrate Judge Bush issued his Report, recommending
that the Court affirm the Commissioner’s decision. Moreno objects to that Report.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C), this Court “may accept, reject, or modify,
in whole or in part, the findings and recommendations made by the magistrate
judge.” Where the parties object to a report and recommendation, this Court “shall
make a de novo determination of those portions of the report which objection is
made.” Id. Where, however, no objections are filed the district court need not
conduct a de novo review. To the extent that no objections are made, arguments to
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT & RECOMMENDATION - 2
the contrary are waived. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72; 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In this case,
Petitioner filed objections and the Court has conducted a de novo review of those
portions of the Report as well as the record in this matter.
Moreno raises three objections to the Report. She first alleges a due process
violation. Otherwise, in two related objections, she contends that the Magistrate
Judge did not properly evaluate the medical evidence. The Court has reviewed the
Report de novo in light of these objections. Likewise, the Court has conducted a de
novo review of the administrative record, the ALJ’s decision, and the complete
record in this case.
Moreno first argues that the Magistrate Judge violated her due-process rights
by failing to conduct a proper review the ALJ’s decision. Moreno says that instead
of restricting himself to the ALJ’s reasoning and findings, the Magistrate Judge
instead came up with a different set of reasons – a “second set of arguments,” as
she puts it – to justify denying Social Security benefits. See Objection, Dkt. 30, at
The Court is not persuaded. While Moreno may disagree with the Magistrate
Judge’s substantive conclusions, she cannot seriously argue that he strayed from
his obligation to conduct a proper review of the ALJ’s decision. The Report begins
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT & RECOMMENDATION - 3
by stating the correct standard of review and then carefully and thoroughly applies
that standard. Throughout the Report, in the effort to determine if substantial
evidence supported the ALJ’s conclusions, the Magistrate Judge explicitly and
repeatedly referenced the ALJ’s findings and reasoning. Ultimately, the Report
concludes that the ALJ had indeed “provided reasonable and rationale support for
his well-formed conclusions, even if such evidence is susceptible to a different
interpretation.” Report, Dkt. 29, at 20-21. This Court agrees with this conclusion,
and, more to the point here, disagrees with Moreno’s assertion that her rights to
due process and a fair hearing have been denied.
Review of the Medical Evidence
In her second objection, Moreno says that the Report “negates all evidence
of mental impairment because . . . [she] was able to work.” Objection, Dkt. 30, at
4. And in the third, Moreno says that the Report “rests on the assumption that
psychiatric records must be ‘seamless.’” Id. at 5.
The Court will overrule these objections. The Magistrate Judge carefully
considered the medical evidence, particularly as it related to Moreno’s mental
illness and fibromyalgia. In so doing, he did not make improper assumptions or
improperly “negate” evidence. To the contrary, after reviewing and analyzing the
relevant portions of the medical record, the Magistrate Judge correctly observed
that the ALJ had discounted some medical opinions while crediting others, and,
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT & RECOMMENDATION - 4
further, that the ALJ’s decision to do so was “based upon clear and convincing,
specific, and legitimate reasons.” Report, Dkt. 29, at 20. After conducting a de
novo review, the Court concurs with this assessment. Accordingly, the Court will
overrule Moreno’s second and third objections.
IT IS ORDERED that:
1. Petitioner’s Objections to the Report and Recommendation (Dkt. 30) are
2. The Report & Recommendation (Dkt. 29) is ADOPTED IN ITS
ENTIRETY as the order of this Court.
3. Petitioner’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 21) is DENIED.
4. The Commissioner’s decision is AFFIRMED.
5. The Court will enter a separate judgment in favor of the Commissioner in
accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 58.
DATED: March 31, 2021
B. Lynn Winmill
United States District Judge
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT & RECOMMENDATION - 5
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