McNeill v. Astrue
ORDER adopting Report and Recommendations regarding 25 Memorandum and Recommendations; denying 18 Motion for Summary Judgment; granting 21 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 8/14/2014. (Edwards, S.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
Acting Commissioner of Social Security, )
On July 14, 2014, Magistrate Judge Jones issued a Memorandum and Recommendation
("M&R") [D.E. 25]. In that M&R, Judge Jones recommended that the court deny plaintiffs motion
for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 18], grant defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings
[D.E. 21], and affirm defendant's final decision. On July 28,2014, plaintiff filed objections to the
M&R [D.E. 26]. Defendant did not respond.
"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. ColonialLife&Accidentlns. 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 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
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 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 findings 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 the opinions of
plaintiff's treating physicians. See [D.E. 26] 1-6. However, both Judge Jones and the ALJ applied
the proper legal standard. Moreover, substantial evidence supports the ALJ's analysis. See [D.E.
25] 10-20. Accordingly, the court adopts the M&R and overrules the objections.
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. 21] is GRANTED, defendant's fmal decision is AFFIRMED, and this action is
DISMISSED. The clerk shall close the case.
SO ORDERED. This 14-day of August 2014.
Chief United States District Judge
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