Neptune v. Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
ORDER RULING ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION: The court ADOPTS the findings of the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 23), REVERSES the final decision of the Commissioner denying Plaintiff's claim for Disability Insurance Benefits, and REMANDS the case to the Commissioner for further proceedings consistent with this decision pursuant to sentence four (4) of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Signed by Honorable J Michelle Childs on 1/27/2016. (gnan, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
William Deleon Neptune,
Commissioner of the
Social Security Administration,
Civil Action No. 4:14-cv-03319-JMC
This matter is before the court for a review of the United States Magistrate Judge’s
Report and Recommendation (“Report”) (ECF No. 23) recommending that the decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security (the “Commissioner”) denying Plaintiff’s claim for Disability
Insurance Benefits be reversed and remanded for further administrative proceedings. The Report
sets forth the relevant facts and legal standards which this court incorporates herein without a
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court that 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 reviews de novo only those portions of a
Magistrate Judge’s Report to which specific objections are filed, and it reviews those portions
not objected to—including those portions to which only “general and conclusory” objections
have been made—for clear error. Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315
(4th Cir. 2005); Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 200 (4th Cir. 1983); Orpiano v. Johnson, 687
F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). The court may accept, reject, or modify—in whole or in part—the
recommendation of the Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter with instructions. See 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (2012).
The role of the federal judiciary in the administrative scheme the Social Security Act
established is a limited one.
Section 405(g) of the Act provides, “[T]he findings of the
Commissioner of Social Security as to any fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be
conclusive . . . .”
42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2012).
“Substantial evidence has been defined
innumerable times as more than a scintilla, but less than a preponderance.”
Celebrezze, 331 F.2d 541, 543 (4th Cir. 1964).
This standard precludes a de novo review of the factual circumstances that substitutes the
court’s findings for those of the Commissioner. See Vitek v. Finch, 438 F.2d 1157 (4th Cir.
1971). The court instead must uphold the Commissioner’s decision as long as it is supported by
substantial evidence. See Blalock v. Richardson, 483 F.2d 773, 775 (4th Cir. 1972). “From this
[requirement] it does not follow, however, that the findings of the administrative agency are to
be mechanically accepted. The statutorily granted right of review contemplates more than an
uncritical rubber stamping of the administrative agency.” 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,
and that this conclusion is rational.” Vitek, 438 F.2d at 1157–58.
In this case, the Magistrate Judge advised the parties of their right to file objections to the
Report by January 8, 2016. (See ECF No. 23.) Defendant filed a Reply indicating no intention
of filing objections. (ECF No. 25 at 1.)
In the absence of objections to the Magistrate Judge’s Report, 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
After a thorough review of the Report and the record in this case, the court finds the
Report provides an accurate summary of the facts and law. The court ADOPTS the findings of
the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 23), REVERSES the final
decision of the Commissioner denying Plaintiff’s claim for Disability Insurance Benefits, and
REMANDS the case to the Commissioner for further proceedings consistent with this decision
pursuant to sentence four (4) of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
United States District Judge
January 27, 2016
Columbia, South Carolina
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