Roberts v. Saul
ORDER adopting 24 Memorandum and Recommendations; granting 17 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; denying 20 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Signed by District Judge James C. Dever III on 9/7/2021. (Sellers, N.)
IN TIIE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR TIIE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTII CAROLINA
KILO KIJAKAZI, Acting
Commissioner of Social Security,
On July 31, 2021, Magistrate Judge Robert T. Numbers, II issued a Memorandum and
Recommendation ("M&R") [D.E. 24] and recommended that the court grant plaintiff's motion for
judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 17], deny defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E.
20], and remand the action to the Commissioner. On August 16, 2021, defendant objected to the
M&R [D.E. 25]. On August 30, 2021, plaintiff responded [D.E. 26].
"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)(emphasis, alteration, and quotation omitted); see 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1 ). Absent a timely
"objection, a district court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must only satisfy itselfthat
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 the objections. As for those portions of
the M&R to which parties made no objection, the court is satisfied that there is no clear error on the
Case 5:20-cv-00204-D Document 27 Filed 09/07/21 Page 1 of 3
face of the record.
The court has reviewed de novo the portions of the M&R to which defendant objected. The
scope ofjudicial review of a final decision concerning disability benefits under the Social Security
Act, 42 U.S.C. § 301 et~, is limited to determining whether substantial evidence supports the
Commissioner's factual finding~ and whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards.
See, ~, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Shinaberry v. Saul, 952 F.3d 113, 120 (4th Cir. 2020); 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 "a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion." Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (quotation omitted); see Biestek v.
Berryhill, 139 S. Ct. 1148, 1154 (2019). It "consists of more than a mere scintilla of evidence but
maybe less than a preponderance." Smith v. Chater, 99F.3d635, 638 (4th Cir. 1996); see Biestek,
139 S. Ct. at 1154; Shinabeny, 952 F.3d at 120. This court may not reweigh the evidence or
substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner. See, e.g., Shinabeny, 952 F.3d at 120; IDw,
907 F.2d at 1456. Rather, in determining whether substantial evidence supports the Commissioner's
decision, the court examines whether the Commissioner analyzed the relevant evidence and
sufficiently explained his :findings and rationale concerning the evidence. See, ~ Shinaberry, 952
F.3d at 120; Sterling Smokeless Coal Co. v. Akers, 131 F.3d 438, 439--40 (4th Cir. 1997).
Defendant's objections restate the arguments made to Judge Numbers concerning whether
the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ'') properly considered the VA's disability rating and whether
the ALJ erred in failing to exclude Roberts's use of a cane from the RFC. Compare [D.E. 21] 5-15,
with [D.E. 25] 1-13. Defendant asks the court to reject the M&R and affirm the decision that
plaintiff is not disabled. See [D.E. 25] 13.
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Judge Numbers applied the proper legal standards andappropriatelyrecommendedaremand.
See Woodsv. Berryhill, 888F.3d686, 692...:.93 (4thCir.2018);Birdv. Comm.'rofSoc. Sec.Admin.,
699 F.3d 337, 343-46 (4th Cir. 2012); M&R [D.E. 24] 3-4, 6--14. Accordingly, the court adopts the
M&R and overrules the objections.
In sum, the court OVERRULES defendant's objections to the M&R [D.E. 25], ADOPTS
the conclusions in the M&R [D.E. 24], GRANTS plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings
[D.E. 17], DENIES defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 20], and REMANDS
the action to the Commissioner for consideration consistent with this order.
SO ORDERED. This _J_ day of September, 2021.
Jtlms f. nEvi1R
United States District Judge
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