Salyer v. Commissioner of Social Security
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION re 3 Complaint filed by Ruby Jean Salyer. Itis RECOMMENDED that the Court OVERRULE Plaintiff's 12 Statement of Errors and AFFIRM the Commissioner of Social Security's decision. Objections to R&R due by 2/26/2018. Signed by Magistrate Judge Chelsey M. Vascura on 2/12/2018. (kpt)(This document has been sent by regular mail to the party(ies) listed in the NEF that did not receive electronic notification.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
RUBY JEAN SALYER,
Civil Action 2:17-cv-89
Judge Algenon L. Marbley
Magistrate Judge Chelsey M. Vascura
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Plaintiff, Ruby Jean Salyer, who is proceeding without the assistance of counsel, brings
this action under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) for review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying her application for Period of
Disability Insurance, Disability Insurance benefits and Supplemental Security income. This
matter is before the United States Magistrate Judge for a Report and Recommendation on
Plaintiff’s Statement of Errors (ECF No. 12), the Commissioner’s Memorandum in Opposition
(ECF No. 13), Plaintiff’s Reply (ECF No. 14), and the administrative record (ECF No. 10). For
the reasons that follow, it is RECOMMENDED that the Court OVERRULE Plaintiff’s
Statement of Errors and AFFIRM the Commissioner’s decision.
Plaintiff protectively filed her application for Period of Disability Insurance, Disability
Insurance benefits, and a Title XVI application for Supplemental Security income on March 27,
2013. (R. at 18.) In both applications, Plaintiff alleged a disability onset date of March 27, 2013.
Plaintiff’s application was denied initially on September 27, 2013, and upon reconsideration on
February 4, 2014. Plaintiff sought a review before an administrative law judge.
Plaintiff had previously filed for Period of Disability Insurance, Disability Insurance
benefits, and Supplemental Security Income on May 11, 2010. (R. at 18; 78–100.)
Administrative Law Judge Christopher B. McNeil denied Plaintiff’s claims on November 29,
2011, and his decision was affirmed by the Appeals Council on January 9, 2013. (Id.) However,
Plaintiff submitted new and material evidence, thus the administrative law judge in the current
review was not bound by the previous ALJ’s decision. (See id. at 18, citing Acquiescence
Rulings 98-3(6) and 98-4(6).)
In her most recent application for benefits, Administrative Law Judge John Robert
Montgomery (the “ALJ”) held a hearing on August 28, 2015, at which Plaintiff, who was
represented by counsel at that time, appeared and testified. (R. at 38–77.) Eric W. Pruitt, a
vocational expert (“VE”), also appeared and testified at the hearing. On December 17, 2015, the
ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social
Security Act. (Id. at 18–32.) On January 3, 2017, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff’s request
for review and affirmed the ALJ’s decision. (Id. at 1–4.) Plaintiff then timely filed this action on
For the sake of brevity, the undersigned provides a brief outline of the procedural history and
will discuss the record evidence and hearing testimony as necessary to address Plaintiff’s
contentions of error within the Analysis Section.
January 30, 2017. (ECF No. 1.)
In her Statement of Errors, Plaintiff raises numerous errors in the ALJ’s decision. (ECF
No. 12.) Plaintiff references specific pages in the record not mentioned by the ALJ and also
attaches an annotated portion of the administrative record, highlighting what appears to be
Plaintiff’s evidence to support her challenges to the ALJ’s opinion. (Id. at ECF No. 12-1.)
Plaintiff’s contentions of error are best be characterized as (1) challenging the ALJ’s step-two
findings and (2) challenging the ALJ’s residual functional capacity (“RFC”)2 assessment.
In her Memorandum in Opposition, the Commissioner first argues that Plaintiff has not
made any legally cognizable arguments. (ECF No. 13, at 4–5.) She next posits that regardless,
substantial evidence supports both the ALJ’s step-two analysis and his RFC determination. (Id. at
5–14.) The Commissioner also adds that substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s credibility
determination and that the ALJ properly relied upon the VE’s testimony. (Id. at 14–16, 20.)
In her Reply, Plaintiff responds to the Commissioner’s briefing relating to her credibility,
explaining that she did not seek injections for pain because she was scared of getting the shots and
that she did inform the ALJ that she had cut back on cigarettes and had lost some weight. She also
reiterates her medical conditions and various medications she is on for those conditions.
THE ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
The ALJ found that Plaintiff had not been under a disability within the meaning of the
Social Security Act since March 27, 2013, the alleged disability onset date. At step one of the
2 A claimant’s RFC is an assessment of “the most [she] can still do despite [her] limitations.” 20
C.F.R. § 404.1545(a)(1).
sequential evaluation process,3 the ALJ found that Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act through September 30, 2015, for her Period of Disability and Disability
Insurance benefits claims. (R. at 21.) The ALJ also determined that Plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since March 27, 2013. (Id.) At step two of the analysis, the ALJ
found that Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease; rheumatoid
arthritis; arthritis adhesive capsulitis; obesity; glaucoma; amplyopia; affective disorder; and
anxiety disorder. (Id.) The ALJ concluded that several of Plaintiff’s other medically
determinable impairments, including fibromyalgia, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and
erythrocytosis, were not severe. (Id.) The ALJ next found that Plaintiff did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled one of the listed
impairments described in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Id. at 22.)
At step four of the sequential process, the ALJ set forth Plaintiff’s RFC as follows:
Social Security Regulations require ALJs to resolve a disability claim through a five-step
sequential evaluation of the evidence. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4). Although a dispositive
finding at any step terminates the ALJ’s review, see Colvin v. Barnhart, 475 F.3d 727, 730 (6th
Cir. 2007), if fully considered, the sequential review considers and answers five questions:
Is the claimant engaged in substantial gainful activity?
Does the claimant suffer from one or more severe impairments?
Do the claimant’s severe impairments, alone or in combination, meet or
equal the criteria of an impairment set forth in the Commissioner’s Listing of
Impairments, 20 C.F.R. Subpart P, Appendix 1?
Considering the claimant’s residual functional capacity, can the claimant
perform his or her past relevant work?
Considering the claimant’s age, education, past work experience, and residual
functional capacity, can the claimant perform other work available in the national
See 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4); see also Henley v. Astrue, 573 F.3d 263, 264 (6th Cir. 2009);
Foster v. Halter, 279 F.3d 348, 354 (6th Cir. 2001).
After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the
claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined
in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except, the claimant can lift/carry no more
than ten pounds, push/pull to the same extent in the lower right extremity and in the
left upper extremity, with not more than frequent overhead reaching with the right
upper extremity and no use of foot controls with the left foot. The claimant can
stand/walk for 30 minutes out of four hours in an eight-hour workday and can sit for
two hours out of six hours in an eight-hour workday. The claimant is unable to
kneel, crawl, or use of ladders, ropes or scaffolds, but can occasionally balance,
crouch, and climb ramps or stairs. Due to visual impairments, the claimant must
avoid all exposure to unprotected heights, dangerous machinery, and commercial
driving. Mentally, the claimant is limited to simple, routine tasks without fast pace
or frequent changes, and with no more than occasional interaction with others.
(R. at 24–25.) In assessing Plaintiff’s RFC, the ALJ discussed the record evidence and Plaintiff’s
testimony and ultimately concluded that Plaintiff’s allegations were not credible.
Relying on VE’s testimony, the ALJ determined that although Plaintiff was not able to do
her past relevant work, there were other jobs in significant numbers in the national economy that
complied with Plaintiff’s RCF limitations. (R. at 31.) The ALJ therefore concluded that
Plaintiff was not disabled under the Social Security Act.
THE STANDARD OF REVIEW
When reviewing a case under the Social Security Act, the Court “must affirm the
Commissioner’s decision if it ‘is supported by substantial evidence and was made pursuant to
proper legal standards.’” Rabbers v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 582 F.3d 647, 651 (6th Cir. 2009)
(quoting Rogers v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007)); see also 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) (“[t]he findings of the Commissioner of Social Security as to any fact, if supported by
substantial evidence, shall be conclusive . . . .”). Under this standard, “substantial evidence is
defined as ‘more than a scintilla of evidence but less than a preponderance; it is such relevant
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.’” Rogers, 486
F.3d at 241 (quoting Cutlip v. Sec’y of Health & Hum. Servs., 25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir. 1994)).
Although the substantial evidence standard is deferential, it is not trivial. The Court must
“‘take into account whatever in the record fairly detracts from [the] weight’” of the
Commissioner’s decision. TNS, Inc. v. NLRB, 296 F.3d 384, 395 (6th Cir. 2002) (quoting
Universal Camera Corp. v. NLRB, 340 U.S. 474, 487 (1951)) cert. denied sub nom. Paper,
Allied-Indus., Chem.& Energy Workers Int’l Union v. TNS, Inc., 537 U.S. 1106 (2003).
Nevertheless, “if substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s decision, this Court defers to that finding
‘even if there is substantial evidence in the record that would have supported an opposite
conclusion.’” Blakley v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 581 F.3d 399, 406 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Key v.
Callahan, 109 F.3d 270, 273 (6th Cir. 1997)).
The undersigned finds Plaintiff’s challenges to the ALJ’s step-two findings and his RFC
assessment to be without merit.
The ALJ’s Step-Two Determination
At step two of the sequential evaluation process, Plaintiff bears the burden of proving the
existence of a severe, medically determinable impairment that meets the twelve-month durational
requirement. See Jones v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 336 F.3d 469, 474 (6th Cir. 2003); Harley v.
Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 485 F. App’x 802, 803-04 (6th Cir. 2012). The United States Court of
Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has construed a claimant’s burden at step two as “a de minimis hurdle
in the disability determination process.” Higgs v. Bowen, 880 F.2d 860, 862 (6th Cir. 1988).
The inquiry is therefore “employed as an administrative convenience to screen out claims that are
‘totally groundless’ solely from a medical standpoint.” Id. at 863 (quoting Farris v. Sec’y of
Health & Hum. Servs., 773 F.2d 85, 90 n.1 (6th Cir. 1985).
A severe impairment is defined as “any impairment or combination of impairments which
significantly limits your physical or mental ability to do basic work activities,” 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(c), 416.920(c), and which lasts or can be expected to last “for a continuous period of not
less than 12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). “A severe mental impairment is ‘established
by medical evidence consisting of signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings, not only by [a
plaintiff’s] statement of symptoms.’” Griffith v. Comm’r, 582 F. App’x 555, 559 (6th Cir. 2014)
(quoting 20 C.F.R. § 416.908). Thus, if no signs or laboratory findings substantiate the existence
of an impairment, it is appropriate to terminate the disability analysis. See SSR 96-4p, 1996 WL
374187, at *2 (July 2, 1996) (“In claims in which there are no medical signs or laboratory findings
to substantiate the existence of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, the
individual must be found not disabled at step 2 of the sequential evaluation process set out in 20
CFR 404.1520 and 416.920 . . . .”). Significantly, “[n]o symptom or combination of symptoms by
itself can constitute a medically determinable impairment.” SSR 96-4p, 1996 WL 374187, at *2
(July 2, 1996).
“[S]ymptoms” consist of a claimant’s description of his or her alleged
impairment.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1528(a). In contrast, “signs” include “psychological
abnormalities which can be observed.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1528(a)-(b).
Where, as here, the ALJ determines that a claimant had a severe impairment at step two of
the analysis, “the question of whether the ALJ characterized any other alleged impairment as
severe or not severe is of little consequence.” Pompa v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 73 F. App’x 801,
803, (6th Cir. 2003). Instead, the pertinent inquiry is whether the ALJ considered the “limiting
effects of all [claimant’s] impairment(s), even those that are not severe, in determining [the
claimant’s] residual functional capacity.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1545(e); Pompa, 73 F. App’x at 803
(rejecting the claimant’s argument that the ALJ erred by finding that a number of her impairments
were not severe where the ALJ determined that claimant had at least one severe impairment and
considered all of the claimant’s impairments in her RFC assessment); Maziarz v. Sec’y of Health
& Hum. Servs., 837 F.2d 240, 244 (6th Cir. 1987) (same). Severe or non-severe, an ALJ need
only include limitations arising from an impairment where the impairment affects a claimant’s
capacity to work. See Griffeth v. Comm’r, 217 F. App’x 425, 426 (6th Cir. 2007) (“The RFC
describes the claimant’s residual abilities or what a claimant can do, not what maladies a claimant
suffers from—though the maladies will certainly inform the ALJ’s conclusion about the
claimant’s abilities. A claimant’s severe impairment may or may not affect his or her functional
capacity to do work. One does not necessarily establish the other.” (internal quotation marks
and citations omitted)).
In this case, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the following severe conditions: degenerative
disc disease, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis adhesive capsulitis, obesity, glaucoma, amplyopia,
affective disorder, and anxiety disorder. (R. at 21.) In her Statement of Errors, Plaintiff
contends that the ALJ erred by failing to classify several of her other impairments as severe.
Specifically, Plaintiff submits that her depression, vision loss (specifically, her right-eye
blindness), migraines, and incontinence were severe impairments. With respect to her alleged
depression, Plaintiff posits that the ALJ failed to consider that she had been seeing a psychiatrist
for over a year to treat her depression. With respect to her alleged right-eye blindness, Plaintiff
states that the record reflects that she visited the eye doctor at least once per year and sometimes
more. With respect to her alleged migraines, Plaintiff asserts that the record shows that she
suffered migraines “as far back as 2010-2014.” (Pl.’s Statement of Errors 2, ECF No. 12.) With
respect to her alleged incontinence, Plaintiff represents that she has been treated with medication,
but that it has only “slightly helped.” (Id.)
Contrary to Plaintiff’s assertion, the ALJ did consider her depression to be a severe
impairment at step two of his analysis. Plaintiff’s confusion is attributable to the ALJ using the
term “affective disorder” rather than “depression” to describe the impairment. “Affective
disorder” is a broad label that encompasses several psychiatric diagnoses, including depression.
See Doles v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., No. 2:10-cv-521, 2011 WL 2214144, at * 2 (S.D. Ohio June 7,
2011) (noting that affective disorders under Section 12.04 include mental disorders such as
depression). Review of the ALJ’s decision makes clear that he considered Plaintiff’s depression
specifically and included a discussion of her treatment history and medications. (See R. at 27
(noting that Plaintiff was taking Cymbalta and Wellbutrin, that she “received psychotherapy
[from] a mental health care provider from 2011 through 2012,” discussing her symptoms,
acknowledging that Plaintiff had some depression in 2014 and that it was not well controlled in
2015).) The mental RFC the ALJ assessed also includes several limitations to accommodate
Plaintiff’s depression and other mental impairments.
The ALJ likewise considered Plaintiff’s right-eye impairments. As set forth above, the
ALJ concluded that Plaintiff had two severe vision impairments at step two, glaucoma and
amblyopia. The ALJ also considered Listing 2.02 (loss of central visual acuity) and Listing 2.04
(loss of visual efficiency, or visual impairment in the better eye) and offered the following
The claimant’s baseline acuity in her better eye is 20/70. This exceeds the
remaining vision in the better eye after best correction threshold of 20/200 or less
under Listing 2.02. Likewise, the claimant’s visual efficiency percentage translates
to 65 percent, and her visual impairment value translates to 0.54 after best
correction, which do not satisfy the requirements of Listing 2.04.
(R. at 23 (internal citations to the record omitted).) Moreover, the ALJ offered the following
additional discussion regarding Plaintiff’s alleged visual impairments:
In terms of the claimant’s alleged visual impairments, in December 2012,
the claimant underwent right eye surgery. In February 2013, the claimant reported
her eye was healing well and that she had no double vision; she indicated that she
was “happy with results” of the procedure. Also in February 2013, although her
right eye visual acuity was limited to light perception, her left eye visual acuity was
between 20/60 and 20/80. The following year, in May and June 2014, the
claimant reported no blurred or double vision. Likewise, in January 2015, the
claimant denied headaches, vision changes, and dizziness. The claimant did
undergo eye surgery, which certainly suggests that the symptoms were genuine.
While that fact would normally weigh in the claimant’s favor, it is offset by the
facts that the record reflects that the surgery was generally successful and that she
retains visual acuity in her left (better) eye. Moreover, postoperatively, the record
reveals relatively infrequent trips to the doctor for allegedly disabling
vision-related symptoms. As such the undersigned finds that the claimant’s
glaucoma and amblyopia are adequately accommodated in the above residual
functional capacity by restriction her to essentially sedentary work, with additional
postural and environmental limitations.
(R. at 26-27 (internal citations omitted).) This discussion reflects that the ALJ concluded that
Plaintiff had severe vision impairments and accommodated those impairments by limiting her to a
reduced range of sedentary work.
Finally, with regard to Plaintiff’s migraines and incontinence, as the Commissioner points
out, Plaintiff did not allege those conditions as impairments that limited her ability to work. (R. at
24; see also Comm.’s Mem. in Opp. 7, ECF No. 13.); Cf. Sheeks v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 544 F.
App’x 639, 642 (6th Cir. 2013) (ALJ does not err by failing to consider impairments that claimant
does not raise, even if record may contain evidence to support them). Nor did she articulate how
these alleged impairments significantly interfere with her physical or mental ability to do basis
work activities. With respect to her headaches, although Plaintiff testified that she gets migraines
about once per month, in follow-up questioning, she acknowledged that medications took care of
them. (R. at 55.) In addition, as the ALJ points out in his decision, Plaintiff denied experiencing
headaches during treatment in January 2015. (R. at 27, 817.) Significantly, none of Plaintiff’s
treating physicians opined that she had functional limitations attributable to her headaches or
incontinence. Similarly, none of the state agency reviewing physicians opined that Plaintiff
required an RFC more restrictive than what the ALJ assessed as a result of these conditions.
In summary, the undersigned finds that the ALJ did not commit reversible error at step two.
The ALJ’s RFC Determination
In addition to the challenges discussed above, Plaintiff also contends that the ALJ erred in
assessing her RFC because he did not account for her inability to straighten her left leg or the side
effects from her medicines.
A plaintiff’s RFC “is defined as the most a [plaintiff] can still do despite the physical and
mental limitations resulting from her impairments.” Poe v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 342 F. App’x
149, 155 (6th Cir. 2009); see also 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1545(a), 416.945(a). The ALJ is charged with
the final responsibility for determining a claimant’s residual functional capacity. See 20 C.F.R. §
404.1527(d)(2) (the final responsibility for deciding the residual functional capacity “is reserved to
the Commissioner”). Moreover, the Social Security Act and agency regulations require an ALJ to
determine a claimant’s residual functional capacity based on the evidence as a whole. 42 U.S.C.
§§ 423(d)(5)(B), 1382c(a)(3)(H)(i) (incorporating § 423(d) for Title XVI); 20 C.F.R. §
404.1545(a) (“the ALJ . . . is responsible for assessing your residual functional capacity”). As the
court recognized in Henderson v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., No. 1:08-cv-2080, 2010 WL 750222 (N.D.
Ohio March 2, 2010), the ALJ is charged with evaluating several factors in determining the
residual functional capacity, including the medical evidence (not limited to medical opinion
testimony) and the claimant’s testimony. Id. at *2 (citing Webb v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 368 F.3d
629, 633 (6th Cir. 2004); Social Security Ruling 96-5p; Social Security Ruling 96-8p)).
An ALJ’s residual functional capacity assessment is based upon consideration of all
relevant evidence in the case record, including medical evidence and relevant non-medical
evidence regarding what work a claimant is capable of performing. Social Security Ruling 96-5p.
Social Security Ruling 96-8p instructs that the ALJ’s residual functional capacity assessment must
be based on all of the relevant evidence in the case record, including factors such as medical
history, medical signs and laboratory findings, the effects of treatment, daily activities,
lay evidence, recorded observations, medical source statements, effects of symptoms, and
evidence from attempts to work. Social Security Ruling 96-8p.
The applicable regulation, 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(d)(2), also explains that “[a]lthough we
consider opinions from medical sources on issues such as your residual functional capacity, . . . the
final responsibility for deciding these issues is reserved to the Commissioner.” The regulations
do not require an ALJ to rely solely upon medical opinions when formulating a residual functional
capacity, but instead explicitly require an ALJ to evaluate medical opinions based on their
consistency with and support from “medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic
techniques.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(2), (3), (4). Indeed, as the Sixth Circuit has held,
physician opinions “are only accorded great weight when they are supported by sufficient clinical
findings and are consistent with the evidence.” Cutlip v. Sec’y of Health & Human Servs., 25
F.3d 284, 287 (6th Cir. 1994).
Here, the undersigned concludes that substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s RFC. In
determining Plaintiff’s RFC, the ALJ relied on her medical treatment records, the opinion
evidence, and her hearing testimony. (Id. at 27.) The ALJ assigned some weight to state agency
medical consultants Teresita Cruz, M.D. and James Cacchillo, D.O., who found that Plaintiff
could still perform light work. (Id. at 27–28; 107–115; 121–129;133–143.) The ALJ ultimately
concluded, however, that Plaintiff was more limited than the state agency reviewers opined.
Specifically, the ALJ limited to Plaintiff to the sedentary level of exertional with numerous
additional limitations. (R. at 24.)
With regard to Plaintiff’s left-leg impairment, the ALJ limited her to no use of foot controls
with her left foot. He also determined that she could not kneel, crawl, or use ladders, ropes, or
scaffolding. (Id. at 24–25.) Plaintiff relies upon her testimony and her own subjective reports to
support her contention that she is more limited. The ALJ, however, found that Plaintiff was not
The degree of limitation alleged by the claimant is not supported by the objective
medical evidence. While she testified in a very open, sincere, and honest manner,
the claimant’s subjective complaints and symptoms and limitations cannot be the
basis of a finding of disability. Rather, medical evidence documenting continued
medical abnormalities based on clinical and laboratory techniques is required to
establish the presence and continuing severity of impairments and corresponding
limitations. (20 CFR 404.1508 and 416.908).
[T]he undersigned finds that while there may have been brief periods during which
the claimant was more restricted, there has been no continuous 12-month period
during which she could not perform the work described in the above residual
(R. at 29.) With regard to Plaintiff’s alleged medication side effects, there are numerous instances
in the record where Plaintiff reports that she does not have any side effects. (R. at 338, 376, 432,
506, 593.) Review of the decision makes clear that the ALJ’s credibility determination is based
upon consideration of the entire record and supported by substantial evidence. Thus, the
undersigned finds that it is improper to disturb the ALJ’s credibility determination. See, e.g.,
Sullenger v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 255 F. App’x 988, 995 (6th Cir. 2007) (declining to disturb the
ALJ’s credibility determination, stating that: “[w]e will not try the case anew, resolve conflicts in
the evidence, or decide questions of credibility” (citation omitted)).
Plaintiff appears to take issue with the fact that the ALJ did not discuss specific facts from
certain records. As the Commissioner points out, an ALJ “is not required to analyze the relevance
of each piece of evidence individually.” Bailey v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 413 F. App’x 853, 855
(6th Cir. 2011); Thacker v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 99 F. App’x 661, 665 (6th Cir. 2004) ( “An ALJ
need not discuss every piece of evidence in the record for his decision to stand.”). Rather, “the
regulations state that the decision must contain only ‘the findings of facts and the reasons for the
decision.’” Bailey, 413 F. App’x at 855 (quoting 20 C.F.R. § 404.953). The undersigned finds
that the ALJ’s decision contained these requisite findings of fact and reasons for his decision.
Finally, the undersigned notes that even if some of the records Plaintiff cites support her
contention that she is disabled, the Court cannot reverse an ALJ’s decision where, as here, it is
supported by substantial evidence. See Blakely, 581 F.3d at 406 (“[I]f substantial evidence
supports the ALJ’s decision, this Court defers to that finding even if there is substantial evidence in
the record that would have supported an opposite conclusion.” (internal quotation marks and
In summary, the undersigned finds that substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s RFC
For the reasons set forth above, from a review of the record as a whole, the undersigned
concludes that substantial evidence supports the ALJ=s decision denying benefits. Accordingly, it
is RECOMMENDED that the Court OVERRULE Plaintiff=s Statement of Errors and AFFIRM
the Commissioner of Social Security=s decision.
PROCEDURE ON OBJECTIONS
If any party seeks review by the District Judge of this Report and Recommendation, that
party may, within fourteen (14) days, file and serve on all parties objections to the Report and
Recommendation, specifically designating this Report and Recommendation, and the part in
question, as well as the basis for objection. 28 U.S.C. ' 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b).
Response to objections must be filed within fourteen (14) days after being served with a copy.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b).
The parties are specifically advised that the failure to object to the Report and
Recommendation will result in a waiver of the right to de novo review by the District Judge and
waiver of the right to appeal the judgment of the District Court. See, e.g., Pfahler v. Nat=l Latex
Prod. Co., 517 F.3d 816, 829 (6th Cir. 2007) (holding that Afailure to object to the magistrate
judge=s recommendations constituted a waiver of [the defendant=s] ability to appeal the district
court=s ruling@); United States v. Sullivan, 431 F.3d 976, 984 (6th Cir. 2005) (holding that
defendant waived appeal of district court=s denial of pretrial motion by failing to timely object to
magistrate judge=s report and recommendation). Even when timely objections are filed, appellate
review of issues not raised in those objections is waived. Robert v. Tesson, 507 F.3d 981, 994
(6th Cir. 2007) (A[A] general objection to a magistrate judge=s report, which fails to specify the
issues of contention, does not suffice to preserve an issue for appeal . . . .@) (citation omitted)).
/s/ Chelsey M. Vascura
CHELSEY M. VASCURA
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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