CRUZ v. COLVIN
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE MARILYN HEFFLEY. PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND REQUEST FOR REVIEW IS DENIED. JUDGMENT IS ENTERED IN FAVOR OF DEFENDANT. THE CLERK OF COURT SHALL MARK THE CASE CLOSED. SIGNED BY HONORABLE JEFFREY L. SCHMEHL ON 10/14/16. 10/14/16 ENTERED AND COPIES E-MAILED. (ky, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security,
AND NOW, this 14th day of October, 2016, upon careful consideration of the
Report and Recommendation filed by United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn Heffley,
and independent review of the record in this matter, including Plaintiff’s objections to the
Report and Recommendation, 1 it is hereby ORDERED as follows:
1. The Report and Recommendation is APPROVED and ADOPTED.
2. Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment and Request for Review is
3. Judgment is entered in favor of Defendant.
Plaintiff’s first objection is based on the assertion that “Third Circuit law is unequivocally clear that an
ALJ must explain why she rejects the limitations in a physician’s opinion, particularly where the ALJ
otherwise credited that doctor’s opinion.” The cases Plaintiff cites are far more general than the statement
for which she cites them; they merely set forth the basic principle that an ALJ must explain why she rejects
various evidence. See Fargnoli v. Massanari, 247 F.3d 34, 43-44 (3d Cir. 2001); Burnett v. Comm’r ofSoc.
Sec. Admin., 220 F. 3d 112, 121 (3d Cir. 2000); Adorno v. Shalala, 40 F.3d 43, 48 (3d Cir. 1994); Cotter v.
Harris, 642 F.2d 700, 705 (3d Cir. 1981); Dobrowolsky v. Califano, 606 F.2d 403, 407 (3d Cir. 1979).
Plaintiff’s second objection blends two issues: the ALJ’s reliance on an allegedly outdated non-examining
state agency opinion; and the ALJ’s substitution of her own judgment for that of the various other experts
on record in violation of Brownawell v. Comm'r Of Soc. Sec., 554 F.3d 352 (3d Cir. 2008). Plaintiff
describes the report and recommendation as “attempting to overcome Brownawell” by citing unpublished
cases from other districts, but those cases are about the lapse of time and additional evidence following
non-examining state agency opinions, not about ALJs’ substitution of their own judgment (and indeed
those opinions are persuasive). See R&R at 21-22. In fact, if the magistrate was “attempting to overcome
Brownawell,” it was only through Brownawell’s own recognition that expert opinions can be rejected on
the basis of contrary medical evidence. 554 F.3d at 355. With respect to both objections, the ALJ clearly
and extensively explains that her decision was based on various record evidence that contradicts the
opinions Plaintiff wishes to rely upon and supports the opinions given weight by the ALJ as well as her
4. The Clerk of Court shall mark the case closed.
BY THE COURT:
/s/ Jeffrey L. Schmehl
Jeffrey L. Schmehl, J.
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