Bentley v. Colvin
OPINION AND ORDER Adopting Report and Recommendation 15 to Grant Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment 12 and to Deny Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment 11 . Signed by District Judge Denise Page Hood. (LSau)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
MICHAEL W. BENTLEY,
CASE NO. 16-11314
HON. DENISE PAGE HOOD
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,
ACTING COMMISSIONER OF
OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION [#15] TO GRANT DEFENDANT’S
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [#12] AND TO DENY
PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [#11]
This matter is before the Court on a Report and Recommendation (Doc # 15)
filed by Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford to grant the Motion for Summary
Judgment filed by Defendant Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”)
(Doc # 12) and to deny the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Plaintiff
Michael W. Bentley (“Bentley”) (Doc # 11).
Bentley has timely filed two
objections to the Report and Recommendation. (Doc # 16) The Commissioner has
filed a response to the objections. (Doc # 17) Having conducted a de novo review
of the parts of the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation to which valid
objections have been filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the Court ACCEPTS
and ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation, GRANTS the Commissioner’s
Motion for Summary Judgement, and DENIES Bentley’s Motion for Summary
The background facts of this matter are adequately set forth in the
Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation, and the Court adopts them here.
Standard of Review
The standard of review by the district court when examining a Report and
Recommendation is set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 636. This Court “shall make a de novo
determination of those portions of the report or the specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which an objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). The
court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” Id. In order to preserve the right
to appeal the magistrate judge’s recommendation, a party must file objections to
the Report and Recommendation within fourteen (14) days of service of the Report
and Recommendation. Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(2). Failure to file specific objections
constitutes a waiver of any further right of appeal. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140,
155 (1985); Howard v. Sec’y of Health & Human Servs., 932 F.2d 505, 508-09
(6th Cir. 1991); United States v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947, 949-50 (6th Cir. 1981).
Bentley first objects to the Magistrate Judge’s analysis of the administrative
law judge’s (“ALJ”) decision to not give the opinions of Bentley’s treating
physician controlling weight. Bentley argues that the weight the ALJ gave the
treating physician’s opinion evidence was improperly based on a determination
that the treatment notes and records the treating physician relied on to make his
opinion were not his own, and the treatment physician’s notes were inconsistent.
Bentley argues that the ALJ failed to provide substantial evidence for the
assessment of Bentley’s residual functional capacity (“RFC”) because of this error.
The Commissioner responds that the Magistrate Judge correctly found that
substantial evidence supported the ALJ’s decision to give the treating physician’s
opinion partial weight. The ALJ considered opinion evidence from Bentley’s
treating physician, Dr. Freestone (“Freestone”), and agreed that Bentley would not
be able to return to his past job. (Doc # 8-2, Pg ID 58-59) However, the ALJ
found that Freestone’s opinion evidence was only entitled to partial weight because
of “inconsistencies with other substantial evidence in the case record.” Id. at 58.
The Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that the ALJ was correct in
finding that the inconstancies in the record provided substantial evidence to not
give controlling weight to Freestone’s opinion. See Warner v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec.,
375 F.3d 387, 391 (6th Cir. 2004) (concluding substantial evidence supported
Commissioner’s decision to disregard opinion evidence of treating physician where
his conclusions were not based on his own medical opinions among other
inconsistencies). The Court further agrees with the Magistrate Judge that the ALJ
correctly accorded Freestone’s opinion partial weight and provided substantial
evidence for Bentley’s RFC. The Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge, and finds
that substantial evidence supported the ALJ’s conclusion that Bentley failed to
show that he could not maintain employment in a field that met his RFC.
Bentley’s first objection is overruled.
Bentley also objects to the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation that the
Court affirm the ALJ’s finding that Bentley’s conclusions regarding his condition
were partially credible. The Commissioner responds that this challenge is not a
specific objection to the Report and Recommendation because it is merely a
verbatim rehashing of arguments already presented in Bentley’s Motion for
Summary Judgment (compare Doc #16, Pg ID 8-10 with Doc #11, Pg ID 25-27),
which were addressed and rejected in the proposed recommendations of the
This challenge is not a proper objection to the Report and Recommendation,
as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b), because it merely rehashes Bentley’s
arguments. Davis v. Caruso, No. 07-10115, 2008 WL 540818, at *2 (E.D. Mich.
Feb. 25, 2008) (Hood, J.) (“Plaintiff does not raise specific objections to the [R&R]
. . . and merely rehashes his arguments.”). The Court incorporates the Magistrate
Judge’s analysis of Bentley’s restated arguments. (see Doc # 15, Pg ID 14-16)
Bentley’s second objection is overruled.
For the reasons set forth above,
IT IS ORDERED that Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford’s Report and
Recommendation (Doc # 15) is ACCEPTED and ADOPTED as this Court’s
findings of fact and conclusions of law.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant Commissioner of Social
Security’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc # 12) is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff Bentley’s Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc # 11) is DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED with prejudice.
S/Denise Page Hood
Denise Page Hood
Chief Judge, United States District Court
Dated: August 31, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon counsel of
record on August 31, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
S/LaShawn R. Saulsberry
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