Smalls v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration
ORDER RULING ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION for 20 Report and Recommendation, affirming the decision of the Commissioner. Signed by Honorable Richard M. Gergel on 08/21/2014. (bshr, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting,
Commissioner of Social Security,
Civil Action No. 0: 13-1324-RMG
Plaintiff brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to obtain relief from the final
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying her Supplemental
Security Income ("SSI") and Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB"). In accord with 28 U.S.C. §
636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 DSC, this matter was referred to a United States Magistrate
Judge for pretrial handling. The Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation ("R &
R") on July 14,2014, recommending that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed. (Dkt. No.
20). Plaintiff filed objections to the R & R and the Commissioner filed a reply. (Dkt. No. 21,
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation
has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de novo
determination of those portions of the R & R to which specific objection has been made, and may
accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge. 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(l).
The role of the federal judiciary in the administrative scheme of the Social Security Act is
a limited one. Section 405(g) of the Act provides that "[t]he findings of the Commissioner of
Social Security as to any fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive." 42
V.S.c. § 405(g). "Substantial evidence has been defined innumerable times as more than a
scintilla, but less than preponderance." Thomas v. Celebrezze, 331 F.2d 541, 543 (4th Cir. 1964).
This standard precludes de novo review of factual circumstances that substitutes the Court's
findings for those ofthe Commissioner. Vilekv. Finch, 438 F.2d 1157 (4th Cir. 1971).
Although the federal court's review role is limited, "it does not follow, however, that the
findings of the administrative agency are mechanically accepted. The statutorily granted right of
review contemplates more than an uncritical rubber stamping of the administrative action."
Flack v. Cohen, 413 F.2d 278, 279 (4th Cir. 1969). "[T]he courts must not abdicate their
responsibility to give careful scrutiny to the whole record to assure that there is a sound
foundation for the [Commissioner'S] findings." Vitek, 438 F.2d at 1157-58.
Plaintiffs objections to the R & R essentially reargue the same points asserted before the
Magistrate Judge. These include arguments that the ALJ failed to properly determine whether an
adequate occupational base existed, failed to properly evaluate Plaintiffs RFC and failed to
make a proper credibility assessment. After a review of the R & R, the administrative record, the
decision of the Administrative Law Judge, and the applicable legal standards, the Court finds that
the Magistrate Judge ably summarized the factual and legal issues in this matter, including the
matters subject to Plaintiffs objections, and correctly concluded that the decision of the
Commissioner should be affirmed. Therefore, the Court adopts the R & R of the Magistrate
Judge as the order of this Court and affirms the decision of the Commissioner.
AND IT IS SO ORDERED.
Richard Mark Gerge
United States District
Charleston, South Carolina
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?