Kendrick v. Social Security, Commissioner of
ORDER ADOPTING 24 Report and Recommendation. GRANTING 23 Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Commissioner of Social Security, and DENYING 16 Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Charles E Kendrick Signed by District Judge George Caram Steeh. (LWag)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 12-CV-15388
HON. GEORGE CARAM STEEH
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL
ORDER ACCEPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S REPORT
AND RECOMMENDATION (DOC. # 24), GRANTING DEFENDANT’S
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. # 23) AND DENYING
PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. # 16)
This case, in which plaintiff Charles Kendrick seeks review of the Commissioner of
Social Security’s denial of his application for benefits, is before the court on the parties’
cross-motions for summary judgment. The magistrate judge has filed his report and
recommendation to deny plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and grant that of the
defendant. Plaintiff has filed his objections to the report and recommendation. Because the
court is convinced that substantial evidence supported the decision of the ALJ, the
magistrate judge’s report and recommendation will be adopted and the plaintiff’s objections
will be overruled as set forth below.
Plaintiff Charles Kendrick applied for both Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) in October 2009, alleging that he had been disabled
since March 31, 2006. After the claims were denied by the agency, plaintiff requested a
hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). That hearing was held on April 6, 2011,
and the ALJ’s decision issued July 1, 2011. The ALJ’s decision finding that plaintiff was not
disabled under the Social Security Act was not reviewed by the Appeals Council, which
made it the agency’s final decision. Plaintiff then filed this action for judicial review, which
is now before the court on plaintiff’s objections to the magistrate’s recommendation that the
court grant defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
Plaintiff’s first objection concerns his argument on summary judgment that the ALJ
did not include all of his mental health limitations in his Residual Functional Capacity
assessment. Plaintiff quotes from the magistrate’s statement that plaintiff failed to cite a
medical opinion or specific limitation the ALJ should have included in her assessment, and
follows with a list of citations to his subjective complaints in therapy sessions in 2009-10.
However, plaintiff’s list does not refute the fact, as stated in the magistrate’s report, that “no
treating physician rendered an opinion on Plaintiff’s mental limitations.” See R & R at 14.
The magistrate considered the ALJ’s evaluation of the two consultative medical sources
that are documented in the record, Dr. Dickson and Dr. Kriauciunas, and carefully noted
their findings. As thoroughly discussed by the magistrate, these findings were then
incorporated into the ALJ’s RFC determination. Furthermore, the court notes, the ALJ did
in fact reference the “clinical observations of treating mental health treatment providers”
(see Doc. # 10-2 at p. 35), which the court notes generally present a variety of both
complaints and positive developments in connection with plaintiff’s treatment, and are not
inconsistent with the opinions and notes of the state consultative examiners.
Plaintiff also asserts, as he did in his motion for summary judgment, that the ALJ
failed to explain the weight given to the opinions of Drs. Dickson and Kriauciunas, contrary
to the requirements of 20 C.F.R. § 416.927(e)(2)(ii). However, the ALJ first clearly
considered and weighed the opinion of Dr. Kriauciunas (although his name was not
included in the ALJ’s decision, his opinion was specifically cited and discussed), in
combination with plaintiff’s own testimony, and then that of Dr. Dickson toward the end of
the decision. The court does not find merit in this objection.
Finally, plaintiff confusingly asserts that the ALJ found plaintiff to be “able to perform
a full range of work activities at all exertional levels” (see Doc. # 25 at p. 4); however,
among other limitations, the ALJ specifically limits the weight plaintiff can lift/carry, the time
climbing/crouching/kneeling/crawling, etc., as well as limiting plaintiff to only simple,
repetitive, and low stress work Thus this objection, as written, does not appear to apply to
plaintiff. Plaintiff’s objection then goes on to assert that plaintiff’s complaint to his therapist
that he was eating and sleeping in his bed “would not be tolerated in a work environment”
(Id.). It appears that plaintiff is again objecting to the RFC determination made by the ALJ
in light of the plaintiff’s subjective description of his limitations. As set forth above, while
plaintiff’s complaints/description of daily activities to his therapist were a part of the mix
considered by the ALJ, there was ample additional information contained in the record to
support the ALJ’s contrary determination with substantial evidence.
This court’s review of the record is deferential to the ALJ. If the decision is
supported by substantial evidence, it must be affirmed whether or not the reviewing court
would decide the matter differently, Cutlip v. Sec’y of Health & Human Servs., 25 F.3d 284,
286 (6th Cir. 1994), and even if substantial evidence also supports the opposite conclusion.
Mullen v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 535, 545 (6th Cir. 1986). The court has carefully reviewed the
record, the decision of the ALJ, and the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation in
this matter. The magistrate judge conducted an thorough review of plaintiff’s arguments
and concluded that they did not provide a basis for reversing the ALJ’s decision, which was
supported by substantial evidence. The court is in agreement and, accordingly, accepts
the magistrate judge’s recommendation. Therefore,
IT IS ORDERED that the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation is accepted
as the findings and conclusions of this court.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendant’s motion for summary judgment is
GRANTED and plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment is DENIED for the reasons given
in the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation.
Judgment will enter for the
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: March 27, 2014
s/George Caram Steeh
GEORGE CARAM STEEH
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
Copies of this Order were served upon attorneys of record on
March 27, 2014, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
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