WILSON v. Social Security, Commissioner of
OPINION and ORDER Overruling Plaintiff's 18 Objections, Adopting 17 Report and Recommendation, Denying Plaintiff's 15 MOTION for Summary Judgment and Granting 16 MOTION for Summary Judgment. Signed by District Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III. (DPar)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 2:15-cv-13409
HONORABLE STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL
OPINION AND ORDER
OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS ,
ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ,
DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ,
AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT 
The Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denied the application of
Tyrone Wilson for Supplemental Security Income benefits in a decision issued by an
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). See AR 11–24, ECF No. 8-2. After the Social Security
Appeals Council declined to review the ruling, Wilson appealed. The Court referred the
matter to Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford, and the parties filed cross-motions for
summary judgment. See Mots. Summ. J., ECF Nos. 15, 16. The magistrate judge issued
a Report recommending that the Court deny Wilson's motion and grant the Commissioner's
motion. Report, ECF No. 17. Wilson's timely objections followed; the Commissioner filed
The Report properly details the events giving rise to Wilson's action against the
Commissioner. Report 2–5, ECF No. 17. The Court will adopt that portion of the Report.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) governs the review of a magistrate judge's
report. The standard of review depends on whether a party files objections. A district court
need not review portions of a report to which no party has objected. Thomas v. Arn, 474
U.S. 140, 153 (1985). If the parties "serve and file specific written objections to the
proposed findings and recommendations," however, the Court must review the report de
novo. Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(2). In conducting a de novo review, "[t]he district judge may
accept, reject, or modify the recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return
the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions." Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3).
When reviewing a denial of social security benefits under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the
Court "must affirm the Commissioner's conclusions absent a determination that the
Commissioner has failed to apply the correct legal standards or has made findings of fact
unsupported by substantial evidence in the record." Longworth v. Comm'r Soc. Sec.
Admin., 402 F.3d 591, 595 (6th Cir. 2005) (quotations omitted). Substantial evidence
consists of "more than a scintilla of evidence but less than a preponderance" such that a
"reasonable mind might accept it as adequate to support a conclusion." Rogers v. Comm'r
of Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007) (quotations omitted). An ALJ may consider
the entire body of evidence without directly addressing each piece in his decision. Kornecky
v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 167 F. App'x 496, 507–08 (6th Cir. 2006). In addition, an ALJ need
not "make explicit credibility findings as to each bit of conflicting testimony, so long as his
factual findings as a whole show that he implicitly resolved such conflicts." Id. (quotations
Wilson raises two objections to the Report: (1) the ALJ's adverse credibility
determination ignored evidence of Wilson's inability to pay for pain medication and
improperly relied on the opinion of a non-treating, non-examining physician; and (2) the ALJ
ignored the fact that Wilson was in need of medical treatment at the time of his hearing.
Obj., ECF No. 18.
Adverse Credibility Determination
Wilson argues that the Report and the ALJ failed to consider that Wilson did not have
access to drugs or medical treatment until March 2014, when his insurance company
began to pay benefits related to his injury. See AR 253–67, ECF No. 8-7. But an ALJ need
not directly address each piece of evidence in the record. Kornecky, 167 F. App'x at
507–08. Rather, an ALJ may resolve evidentiary conflicts implicitly. See id. In addition, an
ALJ's credibiility determination "must find support in the record." Rogers, 486 F.3d at 247.
The Court will not disturb an ALJ's credibility determination "absent [a] compelling reason."
Smith v. Halter, 307 F.3d 377, 379 (6th Cir. 2001).
Here, the ALJ noted that Wilson had been prescribed pain medications in the past,
and—at the time of the March 6, 2014 hearing—Wilson was not taking any pain
medications. AR 20, ECF No. 8-2. Contrary to Wilson's assertion, the ALJ did consider
Wilson's claim that he could not afford pain medication. In the decision, the ALJ implicitly
accepted Wilson's claim of financial limitations as true, and noted that he had not sought
low-cost or sliding-scale payment options, or gone to the emergency room for pain
treatment. Id. The ALJ properly concluded that Wilson's failure to seek treatment from
these other sources undermined his credibility. See Bradley v. Sec’y HHS, 862 F.2d 1224,
1227 (6th Cir. 1988) (affirming ALJ's adverse credibility determination based on claimant's
failure to seek pain treatment); Houston v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., No. 14-14426, 2015 WL
5752720, at *21–22 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 25, 2015), report and recommendation adopted, No.
14-14426, 2015 WL 5729079 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 30, 2015) (holding that an ALJ may make
an adverse credibility determination based on indigent claimant's failure to pursue low-cost
Wilson also contends that the Report and the ALJ improperly relied on credibility
determinations from non-treating, non-examining medical providers. His argument is
unavailing because it relies on an inaccurate characterization of the ALJ's decision. The
ALJ did not rely on credibility determinations from the non-examining sources. Rather, the
ALJ conducted a thorough and detailed analysis of the medical opinions of each physician,
weighed the opinions based on a variety of factors including consistency with the medical
record, and compared the medical opinions to Wilson's testimony. The ALJ documented
numerous inconsistencies between Wilson's testimony and the medical opinions, his
medical records, his work history, and his daily activities. AR 18–22, ECF No. 8-2. Wilson
has not shown—and the Court does not find—a compelling reason to disturb the ALJ's
credibility determination. Accordingly, the Court will overrule the objection.
Wilson's Need For Medical Treatment
Wilson submits that the Report should have recommended a remand because he was
in need of medical treatment for his leg and knee at the time of the hearing. Obj., ECF No.
18. In support, Wilson points to Dr. Monson's conclusion that Wilson needed additional
treatment for his leg and knee. Id. But the ALJ considered and directly addressed Dr.
Monson's opinion. Specifically, the ALJ noted that Mr. Monson opined that Wilson would
continue to experience "residual pain and stiffness in the claimant's left leg[.]" AR 22, ECF
No. 8-2. Moreover, Wilson offers nothing to explain how additional medical treatment would
affect the record before the ALJ, or lead to a different conclusion on remand. As a result,
the Court will overrule the objection.
WHEREFORE, it is hereby ORDERED that Wilson's objections  are
OVERRULED, and the magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation  is ADOPTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Wilson's Motion for Summary Judgment  is
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment
 is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
s/Stephen J. Murphy, III
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III
United States District Judge
Dated: February 23, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon the parties
and/or counsel of record on February 23, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
s/David P. Parker
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