Pitts v. Commissioner of Social Security
Order Adopting Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation (re 17 ), reversing the Commissioner's final decision and remanding the matter for further proceedings consistent with the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation. Signed by Judge Solomon Oliver, Jr on 5/21/2014. (D,M)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
RHONDA L. PITTS,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security,
Case No.: 1:13 CV 719
JUDGE SOLOMON OLIVER, JR.
ORDER OF REMAND
The Acting Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denied disability benefits
to the claimant, Rhonda L. Pitts (“Pitts” or “Plaintiff”), in the above-captioned case. Pitts sought
judicial review of the Commissioner’s decision, and this court referred the case to Magistrate Judge
James Knepp for preparation of a report and recommendation (“R&R”). Both parties submitted
briefs on the merits. Plaintiff requested an order reversing the Administrative Law Judge’s (“ALJ”)
decision and remanding her claim. The Commissioner sought final judgment upholding the decision
below. Plaintiff argued, among other things, that the ALJ failed to properly weigh the opinions of
treating physicians, failed to meet his burden when establishing whether Plaintiff could perform
available work, and failed to properly evaluate Plaintiff’s credibility. (Pl.’s Br. on the Merits, ECF
Magistrate Judge Knepp submitted his R&R (ECF No. 17) on April 18, 2014. The Magistrate
Judge concluded that the ALJ properly evaluated and assigned weight to the 2011 opinions of Dr.
Mendoza and Dr. Rao. (R&R at 12.) However, the Magistrate Judge found that the ALJ did not
assign weight to Dr. Rao’s 2009 opinion, which was not harmless error. (Id. at 14-15.) The
Magistrate Judge determined that the case should be reversed and remanded to the ALJ on this
ground for a proper analysis of Dr. Rao’s 2009 opinion. (Id. at 15.) With respect to Plaintiff’s
claims that the ALJ failed to meet his burden when establishing whether Plaintiff could perform
available work, the Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff’s claims were without merit. The
Magistrate Judge determined that the ALJ properly relied on a hypothetical question fairly setting
out Plaintiff’s limitations, did not misunderstand the state agency review psychologist’s opinion as
to Plaintiff’s capabilities, and the ALJ’s decision properly relied on the job-incidence figures
provided to him. (Id. at 16-18.) Finally, the Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff’s claims regarding
improper credibility determinations were without merit. The Magistrate Judge found that the ALJ
used proper rationales to deny disability benefits and provided sufficient explanation for his
credibility determinations. (Id. at 18-21.)
Plaintiff did not file objections to the R&R, thereby waiving the right to appeal the
Magistrate Judge’s recommendation. United States v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947 (6th Cir. 1981);
Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985). Defendant filed a response to the R&R asserting that she
would not be filing objections. (ECF No. 18.)
The court finds, after careful de novo review of the Magistrate Judge’s Report and
Recommendation and all other relevant documents in the record, that the Magistrate Judge’s
conclusions are fully supported by the record and controlling case law. Accordingly, the court
adopts as its own the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation. (ECF No. 17.) The court
hereby reverses the Commissioner’s final decision and remands the matter for further proceedings
consistent with the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation adopted herein.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ SOLOMON OLIVER, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
May 21, 2014
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?