Alvarez v. Colvin
ORDER denying 21 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; granting 23 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; and adopting 27 Memorandum and Recommendations - Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 07/22/2014. (Baker, C.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
BRENDA SUE ALVAREZ,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security, )
On June 3, 2014, Magistrate Judge Gates issued a Memorandum and Recommendation
("M&R") [D.E. 27]. In that M&R, Judge Gates recommended that the court deny plaintiff's motion
for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 21], grant defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings
[D.E. 23], and affirm defendant's final decision. On June 16, 2014, plaintiff filed objections to the
M&R [D.E. 28]. On June 19,2014, defendant responded [D.E. 29].
"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 fmdings 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 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 her credibility. See
[D.E. 28] 3-7. However, both Judge Gates and the ALJ applied the proper legal standard.
Moreover, substantial evidence supports the ALJ' s analysis. See [D.E. 27] 12-14. Accordingly, the
court adopts the M&R and overrules the objections.
In sum, plaintiff's objections to the M&R [D.E. 28] are OVERRULED, plaintiff's motion
for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 21] is DENIED, defendant's motion for judgment on the
pleadings [D.E. 23] is GRANTED, defendant's fmal decision is AFFIRMED, and this action is
DISMISSED. The clerk shall close the case.
SO ORDERED. This t.1 day of July 2014.
Chief United States District Judge
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