Sims v. SSA, Commissioner of
ORDER Adopting 14 Report and Recommendation DENYING 11 Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Brenda Sims and GRANTING 13 Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Commissioner of SSA Signed by District Judge Robert H. Cleland. (LWag)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 16-11381
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
ORDER OVERRULING OBJECTIONS, ADOPTING REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION, AND RESOLVING MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Plaintiff Brenda Sims brings this social security appeal to challenge the
administrative law judge (“ALJ”)’s denial of her claim for a period of disability and
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §
401 et seq., and Supplemental Security Income Benefits (“SSI”) under Title XVI, 42
U.S.C. § 1381 et seq. (Dkt. # 4.) The matter has been referred to Magistrate Judge
Patricia T. Morris pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and E.D. Mich. LR 72.1(B)(3).
The parties have filed cross motions for summary judgment. (Dkt. ## 11, 13.) The
magistrate judge has filed a report and recommendation (Dkt. # 14) finding substantial
evidence for the ALJ’s determination and recommending that the court grant
Defendant’s motion and, accordingly, deny Plaintiff’s. Now before the court is Plaintiff’s
objections to the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation, (Dkt. # 15), to which
Defendant has filed a response (Dkt. # 16.)
The filing of timely objections to an R&R requires the court to “make a de novo
determination of those portions of the report or specified findings or recommendations
to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see also United States v. Raddatz,
447 U.S. 667, 673-74 (1980); United States v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947, 949 (6th Cir.
1981). This de novo review requires the court to re-examine all of the relevant evidence
previously reviewed by the magistrate judge in order to determine whether the
recommendation should be accepted, rejected, or modified in whole or in part. 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
“The filing of objections provides the district court with the opportunity to consider
the specific contentions of the parties and to correct any errors immediately,” Walters,
638 F.2d at 950, enabling the court “to focus attention on those issues—factual and
legal—that are at the heart of the parties' dispute,” Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 147
(1985). As a result, “‘[o]nly those specific objections to the magistrate's report made to
the district court will be preserved for appellate review; making some objections but
failing to raise others will not preserve all the objections a party may have.’”
McClanahan v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 474 F.3d 830, 837 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting Smith
v. Detroit Fed'n of Teachers Local 231, 829 F.2d 1370, 1373 (6th Cir. 1987)).
Plaintiff does not identify what she believes to have been errors in the magistrate
judge’s reasoning. In her first objection, Plaintiff raises the same complaints about the
ALJ’s reasoning brought to the magistrate judge, and does not address the magistrate
judge’s reasoning at all. (Dkt. # 15, Pg. ID 821-24.) Plaintiff’s second objection simply
states that “botht he ALJ and the Magistrate Judge misconstrued medical evidence and
testimony that ultimately resulted in an inadequate determination . . . .” (Id. at Pg. ID
824.) But, again, Plaintiff does not specifically identify any of the magistrate judge’s
analysis; she simply recasts the arguments presented to the magistrate judge as
objections. Plaintiff’s failure to “identify any specific errors in the magistrate judge’s
objections that, if corrected, might warrant a different outcome is tantamount to an
outright failure to lodge objections to the [report and recommendation.]” Wallace v.
Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 2016 4409062, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 19, 2016) (Cleland, J.)
(citation omitted). Accordingly, Plaintiff has waived any objections. See id.
Nevertheless, the court must review the report and recommendation. In a social
security case, the court “must affirm the Commissioner's decision if it ‘is supported by
substantial evidence and was made pursuant to proper legal standards.’” Rabbers v.
Comm'r Soc. Sec. Admin., 582 F.3d 647, 651 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Rogers v. Comm'r
of Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007)); see also 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). When, as
here, the Appeals Council declines review of a plaintiff's claim, “the decision of the ALJ
becomes the final decision of the [Commissioner].” Casey v. Sec'y of Health & Human
Servs., 987 F.2d 1230, 1233 (6th Cir. 1993).
The court's review of the record for substantial evidence is quite deferential to the
ALJ. “Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla of evidence but less than a
preponderance and is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion,” Pittsburgh & Conneaut Dock Co. v. Dir., Office of
Workers' Comp. Programs, 473 F.3d 253, 259 (6th Cir. 2007), “even if that evidence
could support a decision the other way,” Casey, 987 F.2d at 1233. Moreover, the court
bases its review on the entire administrative record, not just what the ALJ cited. Heston
v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 245 F.3d 528, 535 (6th Cir. 2001). “Even if supported by
substantial evidence, however, a decision of the Commissioner will not be upheld where
the [Social Security Administration] fails to follow its own regulations and where that
error prejudices a claimant on the merits or deprives the claimant of a substantial right.”
Bowen v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 478 F.3d 742, 746 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Wilson v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 378 F.3d 541, 546-47 (6th Cir. 2004)).
The court has reviewed the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation and
finds it to be thorough, well-reasoned, and correct. Accordingly,
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s objections to the report and recommendation
(Dkt. # 15) are DENIED. The report and recommendation (Dkt. # 14) is ADOPTED in its
entirety and incorporated by reference.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant’s motion for summary judgment
(DKt. # 13) is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment (Dkt. #
11) is DENIED.
s/Robert H. Cleland
ROBERT H. CLELAND
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: July 13, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was mailed to counsel of record
on this date, July 13, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
Case Manager and Deputy Clerk
S:\Cleland\JUDGE'S DESK\C1 ORDERS\16-11381.SIMS.deny.objections.adopt.R&R.TLH.docx
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?