Harrison v. Colvin

Filing 24

ORDER denying 14 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; granting 16 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; adopting 21 Memorandum and Recommendations. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 2/3/2017. (Briggeman, N.)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA WESTERN DIVISION No. 5:15-CV-594-D :MICHAEL C. HARRISON, Plaintiff, v. ) ) ) ) ) ORDER ) CAROLYNW. COLVIN, ) Acting Commissioner of Social Security, ) ) Defendant. ) ' On January 3, 2017, Magistrate Judge Gates issued a Memorandum and Recommendation ("M&R") [D.E. 21]. In that M&R, Judge Gates recommended that this court deny plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 14], grant defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 16], and affirm defendant's fmal decision. On January 6, 2017, plaintiff filed objections to the M&R [D.E. 22]. On January 18,2017, defendant responded [D.E. 23]. "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 towhichobjectionismade." Diamond v. Colonial Life &Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310,315 (4th Cir. 2005) (emphasis, alteration, 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 itselfthat there is l!O 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 fmal 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 ~d whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards. See,~' Walls v. B~art, 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 adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (quotation omitted). 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 re-weigh 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, ~, Sterling J Smokeless Coal Co. v. Akers, 131 F.3d 438, 439-40 (4th Cir. 1997). Plaintiff's objections restate the arguments made to Judge Gates concerning plaintiff's RFC. Compare [D.E. 15] 6-10, with [D.E. 22] 4-6. However, both Judge Gates and the ALJ applied the proper legal standards. Moreover, substantial evidence supports the ALJ's analysis. See M&R at 15-18. Accordingly, the court adopts the M&R and overrules the objections. In sum, plaintiff's objections to the M&R [D.E. 22] are OVERRULED, plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 14] is DENIED, defendant's motion for judgment on the . \ pleadings [D.E. 16] is GRANTED, defendant's fmal decision is DISMISSED. The clerk shall close the case. 2 AFF~D, and this action is SO ORDERED. This L day of February 2017. 3

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