Marshall v. Astrue
ORDER granting 40 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, adopting Report and Recommendations re 43 Memorandum and Recommendations and denying 34 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 3/5/2012. (Marsh, K)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
BRUCE R. MARSHALL.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE,
Commissioner of the Social Security
On January 31. 2012, Magistrate Judge Daniel issued a Memorandum and Recommendation
("M&R") [D.E. 43]. In the M&R, Judge Daniel recommended that the court deny Bruce R.
Marshall's ("Marshall" or "plaintiff') motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 34]. grant Michael
1. Astrue's ("Commissioner" or "defendant") motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 40], and
affirm the final decision of Commissioner. [D.E. 43] 21. On February 14, 2012, plaintiff filed
objections to the M&R [D.E. 44]. On February 28, 2012, the Commissioner responded to plaintiff s
objections [D.E. 46].
"The Federal Magistrates Act requires a district court to make a de novo determination of
those portions ofthe [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 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 disputed portions of the M&R. Under the Social
Security Act, a district court reviewing the Commissioner's final decision to award or deny disability
benefits considers only whether substantial evidence supports the Commissioner's factual findings
and whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards. See,~, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g);
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 which a reasoning mind would accept as sufficient to
support a particular conclusion. It consists of more than a mere scintilla of evidence but may be
somewhat less than a preponderance." Laws v. Celebrezze, 368 F.2d 640, 642 (4th Cir. 1966).
This court may not reweigh the evidence or substitute its judgment for that of the
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 his findings and rationale
concerning the evidence.
Sterling Smokeless Coal Co. v. Akers, 131 F.3d 438,439-40
(4th Cir. 1997).
Here, Marshall's objections simply rehash the arguments addressed in the M&R concerning
(1) whether the ALJ erred in failing to find that Marshall met or equaled Listing 1.02, (2) whether
the ALJ erred in failing to include in Marshall's Residual Functional Capacity ("RFC") that Marshall
requires frequent breaks, (3) whether the ALJ erred in posing a hypothetical question to the
vocational expert that did not include Marshall's need for frequent breaks, (4) whether the AU erred
in finding that Marshall has the RFC for light work, and, (5) whether the ALJ erred in rejecting
Marshall's subjective evidence of pain. Compare [D.E. 44] 1-16, with [D.E. 43] 6-21. The court
agrees with Judge Daniel's thorough analysis and adopts that analysis as the court's own. Plaintiffs
objections to the M&R [D.E. 44] are OVERRULED, plaintiffs motion for judgment on the
pleadings [D.E. 34] is DENIED, defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 40] is
GRANTED, and defendant's final decision is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED. This ~ day of March 2012.
Chi fUnited States District Judge
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