Murphy v. Social Security, Commissioner of
ORDER Adopting Report and Recommendation for Denying 15 Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Dana Roisin Murphy, and Granting 16 Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Social Security, Commissioner of re 17 Report and Recommendation. Signed by District Judge Sean F. Cox. (JMcC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Dana Roisin Murphy,
Case No. 15-14252
Hon. Sean F. Cox
Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub
Commissioner of Social Security,
ORDER ACCEPTING AND ADOPTING
MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Plaintiff Dana Roisin Murphy (“Plaintiff”) brought this action seeking judicial review of
Defendant Commissioner of Social Security’s (“Defendant”) determination that she is not
entitled to social security benefits for her mental impairments under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (Doc. #
All proceedings in this case were referred to Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), (B), and (C) on December 7, 2015. (Doc. # 4). Sometime
thereafter, Plaintiff and Defendant filed cross-motions for summary judgment. (Doc. # 15, Pl.’s
Mo.; Doc. # 16, Def.’s Mo.).
On February 8, 2017, Magistrate Judge Majzoub filed a Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”), wherein she recommended that the Court DENY Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary
Judgment and GRANT Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. # 17, R&R at 1).
Plaintiff timely filed objections to the R&R on February 22, 2017. (Doc. # 18, Pl.’s Objs.).
Defendant timely responded to Plaintiff’s objections on March 7, 2017. (Doc. # 19, Def.’s
The Court finds Plaintiff’s objections to be improper and without merit. The Court shall
therefore ACCEPT AND ADOPT the R&R, DENY Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. #15), and GRANT Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 16).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), a party objecting to the recommended
disposition of a matter by a Magistrate Judge must file objections to the R&R within fourteen
(14) days after being served with a copy of the R&R. Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(2). Objections must
“(A) specify the part of the order, proposed findings, recommendations, or report to which a
person objects; and (B) state the basis for the objection.” E.D. Mich. LR 72.1(d).
Objections are not “a second opportunity to present the argument already considered by
the Magistrate Judge.” Betancourt v. Ace Ins. Co. of Puerto Rico, 313 F. Supp. 2d 32, 34
(D.P.R. 2004). Moreover, the district court should not consider arguments that have not first
been presented to the magistrate judge. See Stonecrest Partners, LLC v. Bank of Hampton
Roads, 770 F. Supp. 2d 778, 785 (E.D.N.C. 2011).
“The district judge must determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge’s disposition
that has been properly objected to. The 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).
In her R&R, Magistrate Judge Majzoub determined that there was sufficient evidence in
the record to support the Administrative Law Judge’s (“ALJ”) determination that Plaintiff did
not have deficits in adaptive functioning and therefore failed to meet Listing 12.05C. (R&R at
9). The Magistrate Judge concluded that “while there is indeed evidence that tends to support
Plaintiff’s assertions, there is also substantial evidence supporting the ALJ’s conclusions.
Therefore, this issue falls within the ALJ’s zone of choice, and her assessment should not be
disturbed.” (R&R at 10). Plaintiff lodges two objections to the Magistrate Judge’s R&R.
Objection # 1. First, Plaintiff argues that Magistrate Judge Majzoub “erred in inferring
that the ALJ applied a correct legal standard when her only recitation of that standard was in
error.” (Pl. Objs. at 3). Specifically, Plaintiff argues that the ALJ misstated Listing 12.05C’s
adaptive-functioning standard by stating that there are not “deficits in adaptive functioning
resulting in mental incapacity.” (Id.) (emphasis added). Rather than point to a specific
deficiency in the Magistrate Judge’s analysis, Plaintiff improperly asserts an argument that has
already been advanced before, and rejected by, Magistrate Judge Majzoub:
Plaintiff argues that the ALJ misstated the adaptive-functioning standard by
stating that Plaintiff’s ‘abilities and activities detailed in the record show that
there are not deficits in adaptive functioning resulting in mental incapacity.”
(Docket no. 15 at 15-16 (citing TR 22) (emphasis added).) Plaintiff argues that
the italicized phrase is not part of the adaptive functioning standard, and that by
adding this requirement to her analysis, the ALJ employed an unduly strict
standard, which constitutes reversible error. (Id.) Plaintiff’s argument in this
regard fails, as there are at least three other instances in the ALJ’s decision in
which she states only that the record does not establish “deficits in adaptive
functioning,” period. (See TR 22, 23)
(R&R at 6-7, n. 1). The Court agrees with Magistrate Judge Majzoub’s resolution of this issue.
As such, Plaintiff’s first objection is overruled.
Objection # 2. In her second objection, Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge
“inaccurately characterized plaintiff’s argument, and used that mischaracterization as a basis for
dismissing the argument.” (Pl.’s Objs. at 5). Plaintiff takes issue with the Magistrate Judge’s
statement that “[t]he crux of Plaintiff’s argument is not that the ALJ erred in relying upon the
aforementioned evidence, but that there is other evidence in the record upon which the ALJ did
not rely, which supports a finding that Plaintiff does have deficits in adaptive functioning.”
(R&R at 10). Plaintiff claims this is not an accurate summary of plaintiff’s argument.
Plaintiff’s argument is without merit. In her summary judgment brief, Plaintiff made it
clear that she believed the ALJ’s determination was not supported by substantial evidence. In
making this argument, Plaintiff proceeded to point out certain evidence in the record that the
ALJ ignored. (See e.g., Pl.’s Mo. at 15-18). Magistrate Judge Majzoub properly summarized
Plaintiff’s argument and concluded that “while there is indeed evidence that tends to support
Plaintiff’s assertions, there is also substantial evidence supporting the ALJ’s conclusion.” (R&R
at 10). In reaching this conclusion, the Magistrate Judge thoroughly assessed the evidence that
the ALJ relied upon. (Id. at 7-9). The Magistrate Judge also noted that the Sixth Circuit and
other courts within this district have similarly found that such evidence was sufficient to find a
lack of deficits in adaptive functioning. (Id. at 9). The Court agrees with Magistrate Judge
Majzoub’s sound analysis. As such, Plaintiff’s second objection is overruled.
CONCLUSION & ORDER
For the reasons set forth above IT IS ORDERED that the Court ACCEPTS AND
ADOPTS the February 8, 2017 R&R. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion for
Summary Judgment is DENIED, Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED,
and this case shall be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/Sean F. Cox
Sean F. Cox
United States District Judge
Dated: March 17, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon counsel of record on
March 17, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
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