Davenport v. SSA, Commissioner of
OPINION and ORDER Overruling 16 Objections, Adopting 15 Report and Recommendation, Denying Plaintiff's 11 Motion for Summary Judgment and; Granting Defendant's 12 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by District Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III. (DPar)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
ERICA CHERISE DAVENPORT,
Case No. 2:16-cv-11333
HONORABLE STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
MAGISTRATE R. STEVEN WHALEN
OPINION AND ORDER OVERRULING 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 ("SSA") denied Erica
Davenport's application for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits
in a decision issued by an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). The SSA Appeals Council
declined to review the ruling, and Davenport appealed. The Court referred the matter to the
magistrate judge and the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The magistrate
judge issued a Report and Recommendation ("Report") suggesting the Court deny
Davenport's motion and grant the Commissioner’s motion. Davenport filed timely
objections. Having examined the record and considered the objections de novo, the Court
will overrule the objections, adopt the Report, deny Davenport's motion for summary
judgment, and grant the Commissioner's motion for summary judgment.
The Report properly details the events giving rise to Davenport's action. Report 2–12,
ECF 15. The Court will adopt that portion of the Report.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Civil Rule 72(b) governs the review of a magistrate judge's report. A district court's
standard of review depends upon whether a party files objections. The Court need not
review portions of a Report to which no party has objected. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140,
153 (1985). De novo review is required, however, if the parties "serve and file specific
written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations." 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 case 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). And 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.
In her first objection, Davenport challenges the magistrate judge's summary of the
ALJ's credibility determination, and reasserts that a proper reading of Mittlestadt v. CSS,
2011 WL 2694594 (W.D. Wash. June 15, 2011) requires remand. ECF 16, PgID 639–41.
An ALJ may properly assess a claimant's credibility when considering her complaints.
Walters v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 127 F.3d 525, 531 (6th Cir. 1997). And because an ALJ's
duty is to observe a witness's demeanor and credibility, any findings based on credibility
are to be accorded great weight and deference. Id.
Here, the magistrate judge outlined the ALJ's assessment of Davenport's credibility.
ECF 15, PgID 629–31. Although Davenport claimed there were barriers to complying with
her medical treatment, the ALJ found that the noncompliance damaged her credibility.
Additionally, "substantial, legitimate evidence" in the entire case record further diminished
the credibility of Davenport's allegations: she self-medicated with marijuana despite
warnings from her medical providers; she deliberately limited her work activity to remain
eligible for disability benefits; she continued taking college courses until summer of 2013;
and, among other things, she reportedly completed a wide range of daily activities. ECF No.
7-2, PgID 62–63; see Ulman v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 693 F.3d 709, 714 (6th Cir. 2012).
Davenport's reliance on Mittlestadt is misplaced. In Mittlestadt, the court remanded
the case because the ALJ misread the medical opinion of a treating mental health source.
2011 WL 2694594, at *7–9. That is not the case here. As the magistrate judge stated,
Davenport's treating sources did not find that "her non-compliance with medical advice was
due to mental illness," and even "encouraged her to obtain employment." ECF 15, PgID
631. The ALJ's overall credibility determination was supported by substantial record
evidence, and deserves great deference.
Second, Davenport contends that the ALJ and magistrate judge "misconstrued
medical evidence and testimony" to reach an incorrect determination as to sixteen of
Davenport's adverse medical conditions. ECF 16, PgID 642–44. Considering that evidence
along with her own testimony, Davenport argues, it is clearly impossible for her to perform
work. Id. at 644.
The Court, however, "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, 402
F.3d at 595 (quotation omitted). "The findings of the Commissioner are not subject to
reversal merely because there exists in the record substantial evidence to support a
different conclusion." Buxton v. Halter, 246 F.3d 762, 772 (6th Cir. 2001).
Davenport essentially asks the Court to reweigh the record evidence in her favor on
appeal after it has been considered by the ALJ. That would be improper. See Haun v.
Commissioner of Social Sec., 107 Fed. App'x 462, 465 (6th Cir. 2004) (“We may not
reweigh conflicting evidence on appeal, but instead must affirm [the court's] decision
because substantial evidence supports it.”). The ALJ carefully considered all the medical
evidence of record, gave specific reasons for the amount of weight she accorded each
opinion, and ultimately made findings that were supported by substantial evidence. Thus,
there is no basis to overturn her decision.
The Court has reviewed the parties' motions, the Report, and Davenport's objections.
The Court finds the objections unconvincing, and agrees with the Report's recommendation
to grant the Commissioner's motion for summary judgment and deny Davenport's motion
for summary judgment.
WHEREFORE, it is hereby ORDERED that Davenport's Objections  are
OVERRULED, and the magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation  is ADOPTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Davenport's Motion for Summary Judgment  is
DENIED, and 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: May 17, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon the parties and/or
counsel of record on May 17, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
s/David P. Parker
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