HUDSON-HARRIS v. COLVIN et al
ORDER- ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS for 27 Report and Recommendations, 16 Motion to Remand filed by KESHA R. HUDSON-HARRIS. Ms. Hudson-Harris has not established that any of the new evidence she has submitted is material, that i s, that there exists a reasonable probability that had it been submitted the ALJ would have reached a different conclusion. The Plaintiff's objections are OVERRULED and we ADOPT the recommendations set forth in the Magistrate Judge's Report. Signed by Judge Sarah Evans Barker on 2/13/2017. Copy Mailed(CKM)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
KESHA R. HUDSON-HARRIS,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,
ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF’S OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE
JUDGE’S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
This is an action for judicial review of the final decision of Defendant Carolyn W.
Colvin, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (“Commissioner”),
finding that Plaintiff Kesha R. Hudson-Harris is not disabled and therefore not entitled to
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) or Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under
the Social Security Act. Ms. Hudson-Harris, proceeding pro se, argues that new evidence
requires remand. This case was referred to Magistrate Judge Baker for consideration. On
December 28, 2016, Magistrate Judge Baker issued a report and recommendation that the
Commissioner’s decision be upheld because the new evidence submitted by Ms. HudsonHarris on appeal is not material and therefore does not warrant remand under sentence six
of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). This cause is now before the Court on Plaintiff’s Objections to the
Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation.
Standard of Review
We review the Commissioner’s termination of benefits to determine whether it
was supported by substantial evidence or is the result of an error of law. Rice v.
Barnhart, 384 F.3d 363, 368–369 (7th Cir. 2004); Lopez ex rel. Lopez v. Barnhart, 336
F.3d 535, 539 (7th Cir. 2003). “Substantial evidence means such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Dixon v. Massanari,
270 F.3d 1171, 1176 (7th Cir. 2001). In our review of the decision of the Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”), we will not “reweigh evidence, resolve conflicts, decide questions of
credibility, or substitute [our] own judgment for that of the Commissioner.” Lopez, 336
F.3d at 539. However, the ALJ’s decision must be based upon consideration of “all the
relevant evidence,” without ignoring probative factors. Herron v. Shalala, 19 F.3d 329,
333 (7th Cir. 1994). In other words, the ALJ must “build an accurate and logical bridge”
from the evidence in the record to his or her final conclusion. Dixon, 270 F.3d at 1176.
We confine the scope of our review to the rationale offered by the ALJ. See SEC v.
Chenery Corp., 318 U.S. 80, 93–95 (1943); Tumminaro v. Astrue, 671 F.3d 629, 632 (7th
When a party raises specific objections to elements of a magistrate judge’s report
and recommendation, the district court reviews those elements de novo, determining for
itself whether the Commissioner’s decision as to those issues is supported by substantial
evidence or was the result of an error of law. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 72(b). The district court
“makes the ultimate decision to adopt, reject, or modify” the report and recommendation,
and it need not accept any portion as binding; the court may, however, defer to those
conclusions of the report and recommendation to which timely objections have not been
raised by a party. See Schur v. L.A. Weight Loss Ctrs., Inc., 577 F.3d 752, 759–761 (7th
The Court may remand a case and order the Commissioner to consider additional
evidence “upon a showing that there is new evidence which is material and that there is
good cause for the failure to incorporate such evidence into the record in a prior
proceeding.” 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Sample v. Shalala, 999 F.2d 1138, 1144 (7th Cir.
1993). To be considered “new,” evidence must “not [have been] in existence or available
to the claimant at the time of the administrative proceeding.” Schmidt v. Barnhart, 395
F.3d 737, 742 (7th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). For new
evidence to be “material,” there must be a “‘reasonable probability’ that the ALJ would
have reached a different conclusion had the evidence been considered.” Id.
Upon review of the forty-two pages of evidence submitted by Ms. Hudson-Harris
on appeal, the Magistrate Judge determined that remand was not warranted because the
evidence submitted was either not new, or, if new, not material. Ms. Hudson-Harris does
not put forth any substantive argument or specifically object to any of the Magistrate
Judge’s findings. Rather, she states generally that she is “unequipped to handle the stress
of everyday life” with her and her son’s disabilities as well as the stress of “being
harassed by CPS and continually being denied for SSA.” Dkt. 28 at 3. She summarily
asks the Court to reconsider her appeal, stating only that she believes she has shown that
material evidence exists that would have led the ALJ to change his conclusion. In
support of her objection, she has submitted an additional nineteen pages of evidence that
was not before the Magistrate Judge, evidence which she argues proves her “limited
mental capacity” and, had it been considered, would have led the ALJ to find her
It is not clear from her submissions whether Ms. Hudson-Harris is in fact objecting
to any portion of the Magistrate Judge’s analysis or whether she is arguing only that the
additional evidence submitted for the first time with her objection warrants remand.
Given that she is proceeding pro se, we construe her argument liberally 1 and assume she
is both objecting to the Magistrate Judge’s Report in its entirety and also asserting that
the additional new evidence itself necessitates remand. Having given de novo
consideration to the evidence reviewed by the Magistrate Judge, we hold, for the same
reasons set forth in his well-reasoned report, with which we entirely concur and hereby
adopt both as to the cited authorities and related analysis, that none of the evidence
addressed in the Magistrate Judge’s Report meets the standard required to justify remand.
Nor does the additional evidence submitted by Ms. Hudson-Harris in support of
her objection warrant remand. 2 “[N]ew evidence is material only if it is relevant to the
Under Seventh Circuit law, pro se litigants’ arguments are to be construed “liberally” and held
to a “less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Perez v. Fenoglio, 792
F.3d 768, 776 (7th Cir. 2015).
This evidence consists of: (1) medical records from November 29, 2016 and January 10, 2017
appointments with Jennifer Seele, M.D.; (2) a printout from a webpage indicating that an
enrollment document had been processed on January 9, 2017 for Ms. Hudson-Harris’s son to
attend an online school; (3) a notification dated January 10, 2017 from the Indiana Department of
Child Services regarding the initiation of a child abuse/neglect investigation; and (4) a partially
completed job application for a customer service position dated January 5, 2016 that Ms.
Hudson-Harris represents she could not complete because of her incapacity.
claimant’s condition ‘during the relevant time period encompassed by the disability
application under review.’” Schmidt, 395 F.3d at 742 (quoting Kapusta v. Sullivan, 900
F.2d 94, 97 (7th Cir. 1989)). All of the additional evidence submitted by Ms. HudsonHarris is dated January 2016 or later, long after the ALJ’s September 2014 decision.
Accordingly, none of this evidence is material because it is relevant only to Ms. HudsonHarris’s current condition, not to her condition at the time her application was under
consideration by the ALJ. See Kapusta, 900 F.2d at 97 (holding that evidence
“postdating the hearing” and that “speak[s] only to [the applicant’s] current condition, not
to his condition at the time his application was under consideration by the Social Security
Administration” does not meet the standard for new and material evidence). If
developments in Ms. Hudson-Harris’s condition have occurred since the ALJ rendered
his opinion in 2014, she may file a new application, 3 but her claim does not merit remand
on this basis.
For these reasons, Ms. Hudson-Harris has not established that any of the new
evidence she has submitted is material, that is, that there exists a reasonable probability
that had it been submitted the ALJ would have reached a different conclusion.
Accordingly, the Plaintiff’s objections are OVERRULED and we ADOPT the
recommendations set forth in the Magistrate Judge’s Report.
It appears from Ms. Hudson-Harris’s submissions that she has in fact filed a new application
for benefits. Dkt. No. 28 at 1.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
KESHA R. HUDSON-HARRIS
3741 Allerton Place
Indianapolis, IN 46226
Kathryn E. Olivier
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
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