Knight v. Colvin
ORDER adopting 25 Memorandum and Recommendations; denying 18 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; granting 22 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 7/21/2017. (Briggeman, N.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
NATASHA ANN KNIGHT,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security, )
On June 7, 2017, Magistrate Judge Numbers issued a Memorandum and Recommendation
("M&R") [D.E. 25]. In that M&R, Judge Numbers recommended that this court deny plaintiff's
motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 18], grant defendant's motion for judgment on the
pleadings [D.E. 22], and affirm defendant's final decision. On June 21,2017, plaintiff objected to
the M&R [D.E. 26]. On June 29, 2017 defendant responded [D.E. 27].
"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. ColonialLife&Accidentlns. Co., 416F.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 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. Barnhm:t, 296 F.3d 287, 290 (4th Cir. 2002); Hays v. Sullivoo., 907 F.2d 1453,
1456 (4th Cir. 1990). Substantial evidence is evidence which a "reasonable mind might accept as
adequate 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 re-weigh
the evidence or substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner. See, e.g., 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,
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
plainti:ff'sresidualfunctionalcapacity, Mascio v. Colvill, 780 F.3d632 (4th Cir. 2015), Listing 12.04
and Listing 12.06. Compare [D.E. 19] 9--13, with [D.E. 26] 4--13. 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--17.
Plaintiff raised one new argument in her objections, that the ALJ "erred by suggesting Ms.
Knight's ability to perform minimal housework or activities ofdaily living when she is able indicates
an ability to perform competitive work activity on a sustained basis, five days a week, eight hours
a day." [D.E. 26] 5 (citing Tr. 40). The ALJ, however, did not make such a suggestion. See Tr.
28-42. Rather, the ALJ properly discussed plaintiff's activities of daily living in accordance with
governing regulations. See id.
In sum, plaintiff's objections to the M&R [D.E. 26] are OVERRULED, plaintiff's motion
for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 18] is DENIED, defendant's motion for judgment on the
pleadings [D.E. 22] is GRANTED, defendant's final decision is AFFIRMED, and this action is
DISMISSED. The clerk shall close the case.
SO ORDERED. This ..1:1_ day of July 2017.
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