Pulley v. Colvin
ORDER adopting 29 Memorandum and Recommendation, denying 20 Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, and granting 25 Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Defendant's final decision is AFFIRMED, and this action is DISMISSED. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 8/5/2014. (Tripp, S.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
RUSSELL EVANDON PULLEY,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security, )
On June 17, 2014, Magistrate Judge Gates issued a Memorandum and Recommendation
("M&R") [D.E. 29]. In that M&R, Judge Gates recommended that the court deny plaintiffs motion
for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 20], grant defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings
[D.E. 25], and affirm defendant's fmal decision. On June 25,2014, plaintiff filed objections to the
M&R [D.E. 30]. 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
to which objection is made." Diamond v. Colonial Life &Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310,315 (4th
Cir. 2005)(alteration in original)(emphasis 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
itself that 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 plaintiff's objections. As for those
portions of the 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. Sullivan, 907 F.2d 1453,
1456 (4th Cir. 1990). Substantial evidence is evidence that a reasonable mind "might accept as
sufficient to support a conclusion." Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (quotation
It "consists of more than a mere scintilla of evidence but may be less than a
preponderance." Smith v. Chater, 99 F.3d 635, 638 (4th Cir. 1996). This court may not reweigh
the evidence or substitute its judgment for that of the 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 fmdings and rationale concerning the evidence. See,
Smokeless Coal Co. v. Akers, 131 F.3d 438, 439-40 (4th Cir. 1997).
Plaintiff objects to the determination that the ALJ properly assessed his mental impairments
and that he does meet criteria for Listings 12.04 and 12.06. See [D.E. 30] 3--6. However, both Judge
Gates and the ALJ applied the proper legal standard. Moreover, substantial evidence supports the
ALJ's analysis. See [D.E. 29] 6-13. Accordingly, the court adopts the M&R and overrules the
In sum, plaintiff's objections to the M&R [D.E. 30] are OVERRULED, plaintiffs motion
for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 20] is DENIED, defendant's motion for judgment on the
pleadings [D.E. 25] 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 2014.
S C. DEVER III
Chief United States District Judge
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