Fuqua v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration

Filing 15

ORDER RULING ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION adopting 11 Report and Recommendation, reversing the decision of the Commissioner pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and remanding the matter for further administrative action. Signed by Honorable J. Michelle Childs on 11/27/2017. (bshr, )

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA AIKEN DIVISION Earl W. Fuqua, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) ) Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting ) Commissioner of Social Security ) Administration, ) ) Defendant. ) ____________________________________) Civil Action No.: 1:17-cv-00699-JMC ORDER This matter is before the court for a review of the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation filed on October 19, 2017, addressing Plaintiff Earl W. Fuqua’s (“Plaintiff”) claims for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401433. (ECF No. 11.) The Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) determined that Plaintiff is not disabled within the meaning of the Act and thus not entitled to benefits. (Id. at 2.) The Magistrate Judge concluded that he was unable to determine whether the ALJ’s decision was supported by substantial evidence. (Id. at 41.) Therefore, the Magistrate Judge recommended that the Commissioner’s decision be reversed and remanded for additional administrative proceedings in accordance with 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (providing that “[t]he court shall have power to enter, upon the pleadings and transcript of the record, a judgment affirming, modifying, or reversing the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security, with or without remanding the cause for a rehearing.”). (Id.) Specifically, the Magistrate Judge found that the ALJ did not: (1) consider the evidence that informed the VA’s decision; (2) comply with the provisions of 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c) in evaluating Dr. Hurley’s opinion; (3) adequately assess Dr. McClain’s opinion in accordance with 1 the provisions of 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c); (4) consider the VA examiners’ opinions; (5) consider the state agency consultants’ opinions; and (6) adequately consider the severity of Plaintiff’s mental impairments. (ECF No. 40.) The Report and Recommendation sets forth the relevant facts and legal standards which this court incorporates herein without a recitation. (Id.) The Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation is made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with this court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which specific objection is made, and the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation or recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The parties were fully apprised of their right to object to the Report and Recommendation. (ECF No. 11 at 42.) On November 2, 2017, the Commissioner filed Defendant’s Notice of Not Filing Objections to the Report and Recommendation wherein she stated her intention not to file any objections. (ECF No. 12.) In the absence of objections to the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation, this court is not required to provide an explanation for adopting the recommendation. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983). Rather, “in the absence of a timely filed objection, a district court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must ‘only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.’” Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 72 advisory committee’s note). Furthermore, failure to file specific written objections to the Report and Recommendation results in a party’s waiver of the right to appeal 2 from the judgment of the District Court based upon such recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985); Wright v. Collins, 766 F.2d 841 (4th Cir. 1985); United States v. Schronce, 727 F.2d 91 (4th Cir. 1984). After a thorough review of the Report and Recommendation and the record in this case, the court ACCEPTS the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 11) and incorporates it herein. It is therefore ordered that the Commissioner’s decision be REVERSED and REMANDED for further administrative action in accordance with 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). IT IS SO ORDERED. United States District Judge November 27, 2017 Columbia, South Carolina 3

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