STEWART v. COLVIN
ORDER THAT STEWART'S OBJECTIONS TO THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, ECF NO. 16, ARE OVERRULED, ETC. THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, ECF NO. 15, IS APPROVED AND ADOPTED. PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND PETITION FOR REVIEW, E CF NO. 8, IS DENIED. THE FINAL ORDER OF THE COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY IS AFFIRMED. JUDGMENT IS ENTERED IN FAVOR OF DEFENDANT CAROLYN W. COLVIN, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, AND AGAINST PLAINTIFF PAULA STEWART. THIS CASE IS CLOSED. SIGNED BY HONORABLE JOSEPH F. LEESON, JR ON 6/20/17. 6/21/17 ENTERED AND COPIES E-MAILED.(er, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security,
AND NOW, this 20th day of June, 2017, upon consideration of Plaintiff Paula Stewart’s
Complaint, ECF No. 1, Defendant Carolyn Colvin’s Answer, ECF No. 7, Stewart’s Motion for
Summary Judgment and Brief and Statement of Issues in Support of Request for Review, ECF No.
8, Colvin’s Response to Request for Review, ECF No. 9, and Stewart’s Reply, ECF No. 13, and
after de novo review 1 of the Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) of David R. Strawbridge,
United States Magistrate Judge, ECF No. 15, Stewart’s Objections to the R&R, ECF No. 16,
Colvin’s Response to the Objections, ECF No. 18, Stewart’s Reply, ECF No. 19, and the complete
Administrative Record, ECF No. 6, 2 IT IS ORDERED THAT:
Stewart’s Objections to the Report and Recommendation, ECF No. 16, are
When objections to a report and recommendation have been filed, “the court shall make a de
novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Sample v. Diecks, 885
F.2d 1099, 1106 n.3 (3d Cir. 1989); Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d 5, 6-7 (3d Cir. 1984). “District
Courts, however, are not required to make any separate findings or conclusions when reviewing a
Magistrate Judge’s recommendation de novo under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b).” Hill v. Barnacle, 655 F.
App’x. 142, 147 (3d Cir. 2016). The “court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings and recommendations” contained in the report. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C) (2009).
Citations to specific documents in the administrative record are listed as “R. __.”
The Court adopts the R&R issued by Magistrate Judge Strawbridge, and writes separately
only to address a few of Plaintiff’s objections to the R&R. 3
First, Stewart objects and argues that it was inconsistent for Magistrate Judge Strawbridge to
“discount” Dr. Park’s records that were based on a single visit but to not do the same for Dr.
McMillan. Pl.’s Obj. 5, ECF No. 16. Stewart asserts that more weight should have been given to
Dr. Park’s opinion that Stewart was unable to work because Dr. Park had repeated his opinion
multiple times over the course of a year. Id. Dr. Park gave his opinion on March 13, 2006, that
Stewart was disabled due to lumbar spine discogenic pain, L4-5 disc disease beginning January 9,
2006, and reconfirmed this opinion on July 14, 2006, and March 2, 2007. R. 23.
Contrary to Stewart’s argument, some treating source opinions, including opinions of
“disability” or an “inability to work,” are not controlling or even considered medical opinions. 20
C.F.R § 404.1527(d) (2017). Magistrate Judge Strawbridge did not err by finding that “the forms
completed by Dr. Park and his note excusing Stewart from work do not reflect any awareness of
what Stewart’s work entailed or what capacities were necessary, nor did he document particular
limitations pertinent to her work. R&R 17, ECF No. 15. Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(3),
“[t]he better an explanation a source provides for an opinion, the more weight we will give that
opinion.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(3) (2017). Dr. Park did not give an explanation of his opinions
in regards to why Stewart would not be able to work. After de novo review, this Court adopts
Magistrate Judge Strawbridge’s findings and recommendations that the record permitted the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) to give Dr. Park’s opinion’s regarding an inability to work no
Second, Stewart asserts that less weight should have been given to Dr. McMillan, who also
based his opinion on a single visit. Pl.’s Obj. 5, ECF No. 16. Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. §
Although this Order does not specifically discuss each of Plaintiff’s objections, all of the
objections have been given de novo review.
404.1527(c)(1), Dr. McMillan is an examining source because he examined Stewart. Magistrate
Judge Strawbridge correctly found that Dr. McMillan’s opinion regarding Stewart’s limitation
showed “supportability” in that he presented relevant findings. R&R 19. Supportability is described
as “[t]he more a medical source presents relevant evidence to support an opinion, particularly
medical signs and laboratory findings, the more weight we will give that opinion,” and “[t]he better
an explanation a source provides for an opinion, the more weight we will give that opinion.” 20
C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(3) (2017). Dr. McMillan noted that Stewart was able to walk in the exam
room without the use of her four-wheeled walker she brought with her; she was able to get on and
off of the examination table; and she could go from a sitting to a supine position without assistance.
R. 296. Dr. McMillan opined that based on Stewart’s history and the examination Stewart could do
light work and would need use of an ambulatory device for long distances, but would not be able to
engage in activities that require frequent bending, stooping, crouching, climbing, or kneeling. R.
297. Thus, this Court agrees that the ALJ did not err in giving “substantial probative weight” to the
statement of Dr. McMillan.
The Report and Recommendation, ECF No. 15, is APPROVED and ADOPTED.
Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment and Petition for Review, ECF No. 8, is
The final order of the Commissioner of Social Security is AFFIRMED.
Judgment is ENTERED in favor of Defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting
Commissioner of Social Security, and against Plaintiff Paula Stewart.
This case is CLOSED.
BY THE COURT
/s/ Joseph F. Leeson, Jr.___________
JOSEPH F. LEESON, JR.
United States District Judge
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?