Howland v. Astrue
ORDER ADOPTING 15 Report and Recommendations of the US Magistrate Judge. It is ORDERED that the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED and the complaint is DISMISSED with prejudice. Any motion not previously ruled on is DENIED. Signed by Judge Michael H. Schneider on 1/31/2012. (leh, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
PAMELA R. HOWLAND
COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY
CIVIL ACTION NO. 6:10-CV-569
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES
The Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, which contains her findings,
conclusions, and recommendation for the disposition of this action, has been presented for
consideration. The Report and Recommendation recommends that the decision of the Commissioner
be affirmed and the complaint be dismissed. Plaintiff has filed written objections.
Having made a de novo review of the objections filed by Plaintiff, the Court finds that the
findings, conclusions and recommendation of the Magistrate Judge are correct. Plaintiff contends
in her objections that the ALJ and the Report of the Magistrate Judge failed to adequately consider
her mental impairment, including not considering a Global Assessment of Functioning (“GAF”)
score of 49 as “disabling,” and similarly did not adequately consider an opinion by a nurse
practitioner, Natasha Simmons. However, the Magistrate Judge’s Report does fully address both
issues. As the Magistrate Judge pointed out, a GAF score alone is not determinative of disability,
as Plaintiff suggests. See Scott v. Astrue, 2010 WL 5628725, at *4 (N.D. Tex. Nov. 15, 2010) (citing
cases and regulatory authority). The ALJ adequately considered other medical evidence of record
to determine the Plaintiff’s functional ability.
Similarly, aside from the ALJ’s and the Magistrate Judges’ determinations that Nurse
Practitioner Simmons’ opinion was conclusory and not an “acceptable medical source,” see 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1513(a) and 416.913(a), other evidence in the record, including Plaintiff’s own
testimony, Tr. at 33, supported a finding that her mental impairment was controlled with medication.
Therefore, Plaintiff’s objections are without merit and will be overruled. There is substantial
evidence in the record supporting the Commissioner’s decision. The findings and conclusions of
the Magistrate Judge are therefore adopted as those of the Court.
In light of the foregoing, it is
ORDERED that Plaintiff’s objections are hereby OVERRULED. It is further
ORDERED that the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED and the complaint is
hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. It is further
ORDERED that any motion not previously ruled on is DENIED.
It is SO ORDERED.
SIGNED this 31st day of January, 2012.
MICHAEL H. SCHNEIDER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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