Hall v. Commissioner of Social Security
ORDER: (1) Overruling Plaintiff's Objection; (2) Adopting 17 Adopting Report and Recommendation; (3) Denying Plaintiff's 13 Motion for Summary Judgment; and (4) Granting Defendant's 15 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by District Judge Victoria A. Roberts. (LVer)
Case 2:22-cv-11281-VAR-DRG ECF No. 20, PageID.594 Filed 05/18/23 Page 1 of 5
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
BOBBIE A. HALL,
Case No. 22-11281
District Judge Victoria A. Roberts
Magistrate Judge David R. Grand
ORDER: (1) OVERRULING PLAINTIFF’S OBJECTION [ECF NO. 18];
(2) ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [ECF NO. 17];
(3) DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF
NO. 13]; AND
(4) GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
[ECF NO. 15]
On March 21, 2023, Magistrate Judge David R. Grand issued a Report
and Recommendation (“R&R”) [ECF No. 17], recommending that Plaintiff’s
Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 13] be denied and Defendant’s
Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 15] be granted. Plaintiff objects to
the R&R. [ECF No. 18].
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After de novo review of the record, the Court OVERRULES Plaintiff’s
objections and ADOPTS Magistrate Judge Grand’s R&R in full.
Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED; Plaintiff’s
Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(3), a district judge is
required to determine de novo a magistrate judge’s report and
recommendation on a dispositive motion that has been properly objected to.
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3). This de novo review requires
the Court to re-examine all relevant evidence previously reviewed by the
magistrate judge to determine whether the recommendation should be
accepted, rejected, or modified, in whole or in part. Cole v. Comm’r of Soc.
Sec., 105 F. Supp. 3d 738, 741 (E.D. Mich. 2015); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
A district court need not conduct de novo review where the objections
are “[f]rivolous, conclusive or general.” Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637
(6th Cir.1986) (citation omitted). After completing a de novo review, there is
no requirement that the district court articulate all of the reasons it rejects a
party’s objections. Tuggle v. Seabold, 806 F.2d 87, 93 (6th Cir. 1986).
A. Objection 1: the Magistrate Judge failed to address the
ALJ’s error in crafting the RFC when she impermissibly
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used her own lay opinion.
In her single objection to Judge Grand’s R&R, Plaintiff argues that the
ALJ erroneously based her residual functional capacity findings (“RFC”) on
her own lay opinion rather than the medical opinions in the record. Plaintiff
says that because of this, there is not substantial evidence in the record to
warrant the ALJ’s decision that Plaintiff is not disabled under the Social
Security Act. Defendant says that the ALJ did not come to her findings based
on improper lay opinion, but rather based on a careful analysis of
inconsistent medical evidence in the records. Defendant argues that
sufficient medical evidence supports the RFC, and that the ALJ’s decision to
deny Plaintiff benefits is proper. The Court agrees with Defendant.
Though it is true that the ALJ cannot reject every medical opinion and
rely on her own lay interpretation of the record, see Simpson v. Comm’r of
Soc. Sec., 344 F. App’x 181, 194 (6th Cir. 2009), the ALJ here did not do
that. See [ECF No. 10, PageID.67-69] (describing the careful consideration
of the entire record, review process of conflicting medical documents, and
findings regarding Plaintiff’s RFC).
The record shows that she sufficiently evaluated inconsistent medical
evidence in Plaintiff’s case and came to a valid conclusion. See Tipton v.
Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 847 F. App’x 290, 294 (6th Cir. 2021) (“Plaintiff argues
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that the ALJ impermissibly substituted her lay judgment for the opinions of
medical experts; but in truth, the ALJ turned to a variety of medical sources
located in the record in coming to her conclusions.”). The ALJ did not “play
doctor” in evaluating the evidence and reaching a conclusion on Plaintiff’s
RFC—she made an informed decision based on a variety of medical sources
before her. This is “precisely the ALJ’s role.” Livingston v. Comm’r of Soc.
Sec., 776 F. App’x 897, 901 (6th Cir. 2019).
The Code of Federal Regulations equally supports the ALJ’s actions.
See 20 C.F.R. § 416.920b(b) (“In some situations, [an ALJ] may not be able
to make [its] determination or decision because the evidence in your case
record is insufficient or inconsistent. . . . We consider evidence to be
inconsistent when it conflicts with other evidence, contains an internal
conflict, is ambiguous, or when the medical evidence does not appear to be
based on medically acceptable clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques.
If the evidence in your case record is insufficient or inconsistent, we . . . will
consider the relevant evidence and see if we can determine whether you are
disabled based on the evidence we have.”).
Plaintiff says that substantial evidence exists to support her position,
and because of this, the ALJ’s determination was in error. But so long as
substantial evidence also supports a different position, the ALJ’s decision
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“must be affirmed even if the reviewing court would decide the matter
differently and even if substantial evidence also supports the opposite
conclusion.” Cutlip v. Sec’y of Health & Human Servs., 25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th
Cir. 1994) (citations omitted).
The Court: (1) OVERRULES Plaintiff’s objection and ADOPTS
Magistrate Judge Grand’s R&R; (2) GRANTS Defendant’s Motion for
Summary Judgment; and (3) DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary
Judgment enters in favor of Defendant.
IT IS ORDERED.
s/ Victoria A. Roberts
Victoria A. Roberts
United States District Judge
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