VAUGHN v. ASTRUE
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION RE: R&R. SIGNED BY HONORABLE JUAN R. SANCHEZ ON 11/29/2012. 11/30/2012 ENTERED AND COPIES E-MAILED.(tomg, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE,
In His Official Capacity as Commissioner
of the Social Security Administration
Juan R. Sánchez, J.
November 29, 2012
In her Report and Recommendation, United States Magistrate Judge Lynne A. Sitarski
recommends denying Plaintiff Yolanda Vaughn’s request for review, and entering judgment in favor
of Defendant Michael J. Astrue, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“Commissioner”). For the following reasons, the Report and Recommendation will be adopted.
On April 19, 2012, Vaughn filed timely objections to the Report and Recommendation
challenging the finding that the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) properly weighed the medical
source opinions of Michael Urbano, M.D., Vaughn’s primary care physician (objection one), David
Behar, M.D., a treating psychiatrist, and William Waid, Ph.D., a consultative psychologist (objection
two). Vaughn further objects inasmuch as she alleges Magistrate Judge Sitarski reformulated the
ALJ’s decision by engaging in her own fact finding and concluding there was no evidence in the
record that Vaughn’s use of a cane was medically necessary.
When a party makes a timely and specific objection to a portion of a report and
recommendation by a United States Magistrate Judge, the district court is obliged to engage in de
novo review of only those issues raised on objection. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (2005). Upon such
review, a court may “accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings and
recommendations” contained in the report and recommendation. Id. In the exercise of sound
discretion, the court may rely on the magistrate judge’s findings and recommendations. See United
States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 676 (1980).
In responding to Vaughn’s first two objections, both of which were addressed by the
Magistrate Judge in her Report and Recommendation, the Commissioner reiterates its position that
the ALJ correctly determined the opinions of the medical sources are inconsistent with the clinical
notes of record. Furthermore, the Commissioner argues the ALJ complied with the applicable
regulations in giving each of those opinions reduced weight. This Court agrees with Magistrate
Judge Sitarski’s analysis of these issues, and Vaughn’s first two objections are therefore overruled
for the reasons set forth in the Report and Recommendation.
With respect to the third objection, the Commissioner asserts it is entirely within the province
of the reviewing court to consider the record as a whole in evaluating the ALJ’s decision. Magistrate
Judge Sitarski’s careful review of the entire record is precisely what was required in addressing
Vaughn’s argument about the use of a cane and whether the ALJ’s reasoning is supported by
substantial evidence. Therefore, Vaughn’s third objection is also overruled.
Accordingly, having carefully reviewed de novo the Report and Recommendation filed by
Magistrate Judge Sitarski and Vaughn’s objections thereto, and upon independent review of the
briefs submitted by the parties, this Court overrules the objections and approves and adopts the
Report and Recommendation for the same reasons set forth by the Magistrate Judge. This Court
therefore denies Vaughn’s request for review and enters judgment in favor of the Commissioner and
against Plaintiff Yolanda Vaughn.
An appropriate order and judgment follow.
BY THE COURT:
/s/ Juan R. Sánchez
Juan R. Sánchez, J.
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