Saunders v. Colvin
ORDER granting Defendant's 24 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and denying 22 Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 3/17/2014. (Sawyer, D.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
JEFF E. SAUNDERS,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security, )
On February 14, 2014, Magistrate Judge Jones issued a Memorandum and Recommendation
("M&R") [D.E. 29]. In that M&R, Judge Jones recommended that the court deny plaintiff's motion
for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 22], grant defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings
[D.E. 24], and affirm defendant's final decision. On February 28,2014, plaintiff filed objections to
the M&R [D.E. 30]. On March 14,2014, defendant responded [D.E. 31].
"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 fmdings or recommendations
towhichobjectionismade." Diamond v. ColonialLife&Accidentlns. Co., 416 F.3d310, 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 which 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's objections restate the arguments made to Judge Jones. See [D.E. 23] 7-9.
Essentially, plaintiff again attacks the ALJ's analysis of the formal functional capacity evaluation
and the RFC, the ALJ' s analysis of plaintiff's abilities, and the ALJ' s analysis at step three and step
five. However, both Judge Jones and the ALJ applied the proper legal standard. Moreover,
substantial evidence supports the ALJ's analysis. See [D.E. 29]. Accordingly, the court adopts the
M&R and overrules the objections.
In sum, plaintiff's objections to the M&R [D.E. 30] are OVERRULED, plaintiff's motion
for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 22] is DENIED, defendant's motion for judgment on the
pleadings [D.E. 24] is GRANTED, defendant's fmal decision is AFFIRMED, and this action is
DISMISSED. The clerk shall close the case.
SO ORDERED. This
t day of March 2014.
Chief United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?