Cox v. Social Security, Commissioner of
ORDER denying 14 Motion for Summary Judgment; granting 16 Motion for Summary Judgment; adopting 19 Report and Recommendation on 16 Motion for Summary Judgment, 19 Report and Recommendation, 14 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by District Judge Victoria A. Roberts. (CPin)
UNITED STATE DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
BOBBIE IRENE COX,
Case No: 15-12114
Honorable Victoria A. Roberts
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,
ACTING COMMISSIONER OF
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Plaintiff Bobbie Cox appeals the Defendant Commissioner of Social Security’s
denial of her application for supplemental security income benefits (“SSI”). The parties
filed cross-motions for summary judgment. They were referred to Magistrate Judge
Elizabeth A. Stafford. In her Report and Recommendation (“R&R”), Magistrate Judge
Staffords recommends Defendant’s Motion be granted and Plaintiff’s Motion be denied.
Plaintiff timely objected.
The Court ADOPTS the R&R.
A. STANDARD OF REVIEW
Where a Magistrate Judge’s R&R is objected to, the district court must conduct a
de novo review of those portions of the R&R to which an objection has been made. Fed.
R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3). The district judge may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part,
the recommendation made by the Magistrate Judge. 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(C).
B. DE NOVO REVIEW OF R&R PORTIONS TO WHICH PLAINTIFF OBJECTS.
1. Objection 1: The Magistrate Judge, sua sponte, concludes that the Plaintiff
is ineligible for SSI benefits because she refused to take prescribed
The Magistrate Judge’s review “is limited to determining whether [the ALJ’s
decision] is supported by substantial evidence and was made pursuant to proper legal
standards.” Gentry v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 741 F.3d 708, 722 (6th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Rogers v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir.2007)). Magistrate Judge’s
sua sponte finding does not change her overall review of the ALJ’s decision. The
Magistrate Judge found the ALJ properly followed the five-step sequential evaluation
process to determine whether Plaintiff was disabled. The Court agrees with the
Magistrate Judge that substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s conclusion that Plaintiff
has not been under a disability within the meaning of the Social Security Act.
2. Objection 2: The Magistrate Judge improperly discussed 20 C.F.R.
The Court agrees with the Defendant‘s position that this discussion by the
Magistrate Judge was “irrelevant where she otherwise found the ALJ’s decision
supported by substantial evidence and free of legal errors.” Def. Resp. 3. However, the
Magistrate Judge’s interpretation of 20 C.F.R did not affect her review of the ALJ’s
conclusion, which was supported by substantial evidence and free of error.
3. Objection 3: The Magistrate Judge, sua sponte, found Dr. Magoon was
not a treating source and the issues was not raised by. Defendant or the
The Court agrees that whether Dr. Magoon was a treating physician was not
raised by the Commissioner or the ALJ. However, the sua sponte finding by the
Magistrate Judge did not affect her overall review of the ALJ’s decision and conclusion
that substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s decision.
To determine disability, the medical opinions will be considered along with the
rest of the relevant evidence received. 20 C.F.R. §§ 416.920, 416.927. The ALJ gave
little weight to Dr. Maroon’s opinion because his opinion is “out of proportion with the
treatment notes and clinical presentation in the medical records of evidence.” Dck # 7-2,
Tr. 44. The ALJ said that several treatment notes indicate the claimant maintained
psychiatric stability. Additionally, Plaintiff took guardianship of her disabled son and
testified that she is able to care for him and take him to doctor appointments. Objective
evidence contradicts Dr. Maroon’s evaluation of Plaintiff’s impairments; thus, it is
properly accorded little weight. See. Dyer v. Social Sec. Admin., 568 Fed. Appx. 422
(2014) (unpublished) ( substantial evidence supported decision not to give controlling
weight to the opinion of claimant’s treating physician because it is inconsistent with the
weight of the medical evidence of record and the claimant’s daily activities). The ALJ
found the opinions of the state agency psychologist and vocational expert were
consistent with treatment notes and the claimant’s testimony. Thus, the ALJ’s decision
to give greater weight to those opinions is warranted.
4. Objection 4: The Magistrate Judge erred in finding that the ALJ properly
assessed Plaintiff’s bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and its effect on her
residual functional capacity.
The Magistrate Judge correctly concluded that there was no error in the ALJ’s
failure to include further manipulative limitations. Plaintiff points to no objective evidence
of greater manipulative limitations than the AL assessed. Substantial evidence supports
the residual functional capacity finding, including the manipulative elements.
The Court ADOPTS the R&R. Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
#16) is GRANTED; Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. #14) is DENIED.
Judgment will enter in favor of Defendant.
IT IS ORDERED.
S/Victoria A. Roberts
United States District Judge
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