Pittman v. Colvin
ORDER denying 20 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; granting 22 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 7/16/2014. (Edwards, S.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
CHERYL ANNE PITTMAN,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security, )
On June 9, 2014, Magistrate Judge Gates issued a Memorandum and Recommendation
("M&R") [D.E. 28]. In that M&R, Judge Gates recommended that the court deny plaintiff's motion
for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 20], grant defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings
[D.E. 22], and affirm defendant's fmal decision. On June 20,2014, plaintiff filed objections to the
M&R [D.E. 29]. 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 fmdings or recommendations
towhichobjectionismade." Diamond v. ColonialLife&Accidentins. Co., 416 F.3d 310,315 (4th
Cir. 2005)(alterationinoriginal)(emphasisandquotationomitted); 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 that 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 Gates. See [D.E. 29] 1-5.
However, both Judge Gates and the ALJ applied the proper legal standard. Moreover, substantial
evidence supports the ALJ' s analysis. See [D.E. 28] 4-11. Accordingly, the court adopts the M&R
and overrules the objections.
In sum, plaintiff's objections to the M&R [D.E. 29] are OVERRULED, plaintiff's motion
for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 20] 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 liD day of July 2014.
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