Thomas v. Commissioner, SSA
MEMORANDUM ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE for 14 Report and Recommendations. ORDERED that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge is AFFIRMED. Signed by Judge Richard A. Schell on 3/22/2017. (daj, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY
Case No. 4:13-CV743-RAS-KPJ
MEMORANDUM ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Came on for consideration the report of the United States Magistrate Judge in this action
(Dkt. 32), this matter having been heretofore referred to the United States Magistrate Judge
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636. On February 21, 2017, the report of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. 14)
was entered containing proposed findings of fact and recommendations that the decision of the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) be AFFIRMED.
On March 8, 2017, Plaintiff Ruby Thomas filed her objections to the report (see Dkt. 15).
On March 17, 2017, the Commissioner filed a response to Plaintiff’s objections (see Dkt. 17).
The court has made a de novo review of the objections raised by Plaintiff, and is of the
opinion that the findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge are correct and the objections
are without merit as to the ultimate findings of the Magistrate Judge. The court hereby adopts the
findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge as the findings and conclusions of this court.
Plaintiff first objects that the Magistrate Judge improperly relied on the ALJ’s conclusions
regarding the opinions of the testifying medical expert. See Dkt. 15 at 2-3. However, the Magistrate
Judge’s report specifically addresses the ALJ’s findings regarding the opinions of Plaintiff’s
treating physician, Dr. Stephens, and found that the ALJ’s conclusions were supported by
substantial evidence. Specifically, the Magistrate Judge found not only that Dr. Stephens’s second
opinion contained virtually no new findings and thus was of little probative value, but also that
the totality of the evidence failed to support either opinion. Accordingly, the court finds no error
in the Magistrate Judge’s findings related to weight afforded the opinions of Dr. Stephens.
Plaintiff next objects to the Magistrate Judge’s finding that substantial evidence supports
the ALJ’s credibility finding. See Dkt. 15 at 3-4. As the Magistrate Judge noted, judicial review of
the Commissioner’s final decision is limited to two inquiries: whether the decision is supported by
substantial evidence in the record and whether the evidence was evaluated under the proper legal
standard. Greenspan v. Shalala, 38 F.3d 232, 236 (5th Cir. 1994). The Magistrate Judge’s report
specifically addresses the ALJ’s credibility finding and found that it was supported by substantial
evidence. The court thus finds no basis for Plaintiff’s
It is therefore ORDERED that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge is
SIGNED this the 22nd day of March, 2017.
RICHARD A. SCHELL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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