Coates v. Commissioner, Social Security Administration
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS. The Court hereby adopts the findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge as the findings and conclusions of the Court. The decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED and the complaint is hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Any motion not previously ruled on is DENIED. Signed by Judge Michael H. Schneider on 06/06/16. (mll, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
SASHA COATES o/b/o Z.D.N.W.,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN
Acting Commissioner of Social Security,
CIVIL ACTION No. 6:15-cv-488
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Plaintiff Sasha Coates initiated this civil action pursuant to Social Security Act, Section
205(g) for judicial review of the Commissioner’s denial of Plaintiff’s application for Social
Security benefits. The case was referred to United States Magistrate Judge John D. Love, who
issued a Report and Recommendation concluding that the decision of the Commissioner should
be affirmed and the action dismissed with prejudice. Doc. No. 14.
The Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, which contains his findings,
conclusions, and recommendation for the disposition of this action, has been presented for
consideration. Plaintiff has filed an objection to the Report and Recommendation. Doc. No. 15.
Specifically, Plaintiff objects to Judge Love’s finding that Z.D.N.W. has a less than marked
limitation in the domain of interacting and relating to others.
Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge “erroneously concluded that the ALJ correctly
determined that Z.W. ‘does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that result in
either “marked” limitations in two domains of functioning or “extreme” limitation in one domain
of functioning.’” Doc. No 15 at 1. Essentially, Plaintiff objects that the Magistrate Judge did not
address the fact that the “ALJ’s Decision gives no indication that he attempted to obtain” school
records and medical records that Plaintiff believes to be critical. Id. at 2. However, it was not
necessary for the Magistrate Judge to analyze what additional evidence outside the record the
ALJ could have considered in his decision. Instead, the Court’s sole responsibility is to
determine whether the ALJ followed the proper legal standards and whether the decision is
supported by sufficient evidence; as discussed in the Report and Recommendation, the Court
may not delve into judicial review beyond that extent. Doc. No. 14 at 2, citing Bowling v.
Shalala, 36 F.3d 431, 435 (5th Cir. 1994). Here, the record consisted of a sufficient amount of
evidence for the ALJ to make a disability determination, and the Magistrate Judge correctly
found that the ALJ’s decision was supported by substantial evidence.
The Magistrate Judge pointed out that the ALJ appropriately considered the evidence—
including (1) the Mother’s testimony, (2) childhood disability evaluations, (3) the Mother’s
report to the doctor, (4) the fact that Z.D.N.W would put his dishes away when asked, and most
significantly, (5) teacher evaluations—when determining that Z.D.N.W. has less than marked
limitations in the domain of interacting and relating to others. Doc. No. 14 at 8. The Magistrate
Judge also noted that the ALJ discussed Z.D.N.W.’s problematic behaviors in his decision. Id.
Therefore, the Magistrate Judge correctly analyzed the ALJ’s finding of a less than marked
limitation in this domain. Further, because Plaintiff brings this argument before the Court for the
first time at the objection stage, the Court declines to accept it as a legitimate basis for granting
her objections. For these reasons, the Court overrules Plaintiff’s objection.
As such, the Court hereby adopts the findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge as
the findings and conclusions of the Court. It is accordingly 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.
SIGNED this 6th day of June, 2016.
MICHAEL H. SCHNEIDER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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