Tomlinson v. Commissioner of Social Security

Filing 15

ORDER Accepting Report and Recommendations for 14 Report and Recommendations. The Commissioner's decision is affirmed. The Clerk is directed to enter judgment against Tomlinson and in favor of the Commissioner. Signed by Judge Mark W Bennett on 4/4/13. (djs)

Download PDF
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA WESTERN DIVISION TIMOTHY CRAIG TOMLINSON, No. C 12-4038-MWB Plaintiff, vs. CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, ORDER ACCEPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION Defendant. ___________________________ This case is before me on a Report And Recommendation (docket no. 14) from United States Magistrate Judge Leonard Strand in this appeal of denial by an administrative law judge (ALJ) of Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income disability benefits. Judge Strand concluded that the ALJ properly evaluated the opinion of a treating source, Ms. Drevs, and the ALJ properly applied the Polaski factors in the credibility analysis. Judge Strand therefore recommended affirming the Commissioner’s decision. No party has filed objections to the Report And Recommendation. I review Judge Strand’s Report And Recommendation pursuant to the statutory standards found in 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1): A judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made. A judge of the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge. The judge may also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions. 28. U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (2006); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b) (stating identical requirements); N.D. Ia. L.R. 72, 72.1 (allowing the referral of dispositive matters to a magistrate judge but not articulating any standards to review the magistrate judge’s Report And Recommendation). While examining these statutory standards, the United States Supreme Court explained: Any party that desires plenary consideration by the Article III judge of any issue need only ask. Moreover, while the statute does not require the judge to review an issue de novo if no objections are filed, it does not preclude further review by the district judge, sua sponte or at the request of a party, under a de novo or any other standard. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 154 (1985). Thus, a district court may review de novo any issue in a magistrate judge’s Report And Recommendation at any time. Id. If a party files an objection to the magistrate judge’s Report And Recommendation, however, the district court must “make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In the absence of an objection, the district court is not required “to give any more consideration to the magistrate’s report than the court considers appropriate.” Thomas, 474 U.S. at 150. In this case, no objections have been filed. As a result, I review Judge Strand’s Report And Recommendation under a clearly erroneous standard of review. See Grinder v. Gammon, 73 F.3d 793, 795 (8th Cir. 1996) (noting when no objections are filed and the time for filing objections has expired, “[the district court judge] would only have to review the findings of the magistrate judge for clear error”); Taylor v. Farrier, 910 F.2d 518, 520 (8th Cir. 1990) (noting the advisory committee’s note to Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b) indicates “when no timely objection is filed the court need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record”). The United States Supreme Court has explained that “[a] finding is ‘clearly erroneous’ when although 2 there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” Anderson v. City of Bessemer City, 470 U.S. 564, 573 (1985) (quoting United States v. U.S. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948)). While I examine Judge Strand’s Report And Recommendation for clear error, I also review the Commissioner’s decision to determine whether the correct legal standards were applied and “whether the Commissioner’s findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole.” Page v. Astrue, 484 F.3d 1040, 1042 (8th Cir. 2007) (quoting Haggard v. Apfel, 175 F.3d 591, 594 (8th Cir. 1999)). Under this deferential standard, “[s]ubstantial evidence is less than a preponderance but is enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the Commissioner’s conclusion.” Krogmeier v. Barnhart, 294 F.3d 1019, 1022 (8th Cir. 2002); see also Page, 484 F.3d at 1042. In reviewing the Commissioner’s denial of benefits to determine if it is supported by substantial evidence, the court must “not only . . . consider evidence in the record that supports the Commissioner’s determination, but also any evidence that detracts from that conclusion.” Draper v. Barnhart, 425 F.3d 1127, 1130 (8th Cir. 2005) (citing Hutsell v. Massanari, 259 F.3d 707, 711 (8th Cir. 2001)). Nonetheless, even if a court “might have reached a different conclusion had [it] been the initial finder of fact,” the Commissioner’s decision will not be disturbed “unless the record contains insufficient evidence to support the outcome.” See Nicola v. Astrue, 480 F.3d 885, 886 (8th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted). Having reviewed the record, and Judge Strand’s very thorough and well-written findings of fact and conclusions of law in the March 15, 2013, Report And Recommendation, I find no error and accept the Report And Recommendation (docket no. 14). The Commissioner’s decision is affirmed. The Clerk is directed to enter judgment against Tomlinson and in favor of the Commissioner. 3 IT IS SO ORDERED. DATED this 4th day of April, 2013. ______________________________________ MARK W. BENNETT U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA 4

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?