Grubbs, Jr. v. SSA, Commissioner of
ORDER Adopting Report and Recommendation for 15 Report and Recommendation, 13 Motion for Summary Judgment filed by L.V. Grubbs, Jr., 14 Motion for Summary Judgment, filed by SSA, Commissioner of Signed by District Judge Avern Cohn. (MVer)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
L.V. GRUBBS, JR.,
Case No. 16-10426
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
HON. AVERN COHN
DECISION AFFIRMING DENIAL OF BENEFITS
This is a Social Security case. Plaintiff L.V. Grubbs, Jr. (Grubbs) appeals a
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner) denying his application
for disability insurance and other benefits. Grubbs asserts impairments including knee
arthrosis, hand dysfunction, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Grubbs is suing under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking reversal of the
Commissioner’s decision. Grubbs has filed a motion for summary judgment, (Doc. 13).
The Commissioner has filed a cross motion for summary judgment, (Doc. 14). The
motions were referred to a magistrate judge who reported and recommended,
(Doc. 15), that the Court deny Grubbs’s motion, grant the Commissioner’s motion, and
affirm the denial of benefits. Grubbs has raised various objections, (Doc. 16).
The Court has considered the report and recommendation (R&R) and Grubbs’s
objections to it, and conducted a de novo review of the record pertaining to the
objections. The Court agrees with the magistrate judge’s conclusions and reasoning.
Grubbs’s objections to the R&R, (Doc. 16), are OVERRULED, the R&R,
(Doc. 15), is ADOPTED, Grubbs’s motion for summary judgment, (Doc. 13), is DENIED,
the Commissioner’s motion for summary judgment, (Doc. 14), is GRANTED, and the
Commissioner’s denial of benefits is AFFIRMED.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Grubbs does not object to the R&R’s recitation of the facts and procedural
history. (Docs. 15, 16). The Court adopts and incorporates it. (See Doc. 15).
Grubbs seeks review of the agency’s determination of his residual functional
capacity (RFC) to perform light work with restrictions. However, instead of arguing the
substance of the RFC, he seeks relief on various technical and procedural grounds.
They are the administrative law judge (ALJ)’s: (1) failure to comply with prior remand
orders to address additional medical records submitted, (2) decision to accord “great
weight” to a consultant physician’s RFC assessment pre-dating these records,
(3) failure to undergo a “function-by-function” analysis in determining RFC, and
(4) failure to obtain an updated RFC report given the additional medical records.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Court must review de novo parts of an R&R to which a party objects.
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). “A judge of the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in
part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” Id.
Commissioner’s Disability Determination
The Court’s review is limited to determining if “the Commissioner has failed to
apply the correct legal standards or has made findings of fact unsupported by
substantial evidence in the record.” Walters v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 127 F.3d 525, 528
(6th Cir. 1997). In doing so, the Court does not resolve conflicts in the evidence or
questions of credibility. Brainard v. Sec’y of HHS, 889 F.2d 679, 681 (6th Cir. 1989).
Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.” Id.
As objections to the R&R, Grubbs reiterates the grounds for review detailed in his
pending motion. They are each addressed below.
Compliance with Remand Orders
The ALJ’s decision explicitly discusses in detail the additional medical records at
issue, to wit Exhibits 7F (2010 treatment records of Dr. Yasser Aleech, a pulmonary
specialist), 8F (2013 treatment records of Dr. Ryan Beekman, an orthopedist) and 11F
(2012-2014 records of Dr. Aleech). (See AR at 315-16). These records were
accounted for in the agency’s decision, which was all that was required on remand.
Decision to Credit RFC Report Pre-Dating New Records
The ALJ’s RFC assessment was based on Grubbs’s testimony as to daily
activities and the unremarkable clinical findings reflected in his medical records,
including Exhibits 7F, 8F and 11F from 2010 to 2014. Additionally, the ALJ credited the
consultant physician’s RFC assessment. Together, this evidence is adequate support.
Failure to Perform “Function-by-Function” Analysis of RFC
There is no requirement for an ALJ to detail in writing a claimant’s status for
every conceivable work-related function. Instead, the ALJ must discuss how the
evidence supports, or not, the functional limitations identified. This was done here.
Failure to Obtain Updated RFC Assessment
The cited requirement to obtain an updated medical opinion relates to whether a
condition is medically equivalent to a listed condition. Equivalency is not at issue.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: March 28, 2017
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