Shaver v. Colvin
ORDER granting 23 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; adopting 26 Memorandum and Recommendations; denying 20 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 8/14/2017. (Briggeman, N.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
YVONNE MARCHELL SHAVER,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security, )
On July 3, 2017, Magistrate Judge Numbers issued a Memorandum and Recommendation
("M&R") [D.E. 26]. In that M&R, Judge Numbers recommended that this court deny plaintiff's
motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 20], grant defendant's motion for judgment on the
pleadings [D.E. 23], and affirm defendant's final decision. On July 17, 2017, plaintiff objected to
the M&R [D.E. 27]. Defendant did not respond.
"The Federal Magistrates Act requires a district court to make a de novo determination of
those portions of the magistrate judge's report or specified proposed findings or recommendations
towhichobjectionismade." Diamond v. Colonial Life &Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d310, 315 (4th
Cir. 2005) (emphasis, alteration, and quotation omitted); see 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). Absent a timely
objection, "a district court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must only satisfy itselfthat
there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation." Diamond,
416 F .3d at 315 (quotation omitted).
The court has reviewed the M&R, the record, and plaintiffs objections. As for those
portions ofthe M&R to which plaintiff made no objection, the court is satisfied that there is no clear
error on the face of the record.
The court has reviewed de novo the portions of the M&R to which plaintiff objected. The
scope of judicial review of a final decision regarding disability benefits under the Social Security
Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), is limited to determining whether substantial evidence supports the
Commissioner's factual findings and whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards.
Walls v. Barnhart, 296 F.3d 287, 290 (4th Cir. 2002); Hays v.
907 F.2d 1453,
1456 (4th Cir. 1990). Substantial evidence is evidence a "reasonable mind might accept as adequate
to support a conclusion." Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (quotation omitted). It
"consists of more than a mere scintilla of evidence but may be less than a preponderance." Smith
v. Chater, 99 F.3d635, 638 (4thCir. 1996). This courtmaynotre-weigh the evidence or substitute
its judgment for that ofthe Commissioner.
See,~' Hays, 907 F .2d at 1456.
Rather, in determining
whether substantial evidence supports the Commissioner's decision, the court's review is limited to
whether the Commissioner analyzed the relevant evidence and sufficiently explained her findings
and rationale concerning the evidence. See, e.g., Sterling Smokeless Coal Co. v. Akers, 131 F .3d
438, 439-40 (4th Cir. 1997).
Plaintiff's objections largely restate the arguments made to Judge Numbers concerning the
weight given to the opinions of plaintiff's treating physicians and plaintiff's residual functional
capacity. Compare [D.E. 21] 4--9, 15-21, with [D.E. 27] 1-5. However, both Judge Numbers and
the ALJ applied the proper legal standards. Moreover, substantial evidence supports the ALJ' s
analysis. See M&R at 4--16.
In sum, plaintiff's objections to the M&R [D.E. 27] are OVERRULED, plaintiff's motion
for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 20] is DENIED, defendant's motion for judgment on the
pleadings [D.E. 23] is GRANTED, defendant's final decision is AFFIRMED, and this action is
DISMISSED. The clerk shall close the case.
SO ORDERED. This
day of August 2017.
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