January v. Commissioner, Social Security Administration
ORDER adopting 21 Report and Recommendation. 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 Ron Clark on 7/8/17. (tkd, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
EVELYN D JANUARY,
COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY
CIVIL ACTION NO. 6:15-CV-01013-RC
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Plaintiff Evelyn January 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.
The Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 21), 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
(Dkt. No. 22). Specifically, Plaintiff objects to the Magistrate Judge’s finding “the ALJ correctly
applied the legal standards for weighing the medical evidence and in finding that substantial
evidence supports the ALJ’s weighing of the medical evidence” Id. at 2. Plaintiff argues that the
Magistrate Judge failed to consider the legal standard that an ALJ is required to consider and
assess each medical opinion in the record and “adequately articulate the weight given to each of
the medical opinions.” Id. at 3 (citing Jasper v. Comm’r, SSA, 6:15cv792 (E.D. Tex. Mar. 2017).
While Plaintiff offers a broad objection regarding the considerations and weight afforded
to Dr. Mills’s reports, Plaintiff does not point to any alleged “medical opinion” of Dr. Mills that
was not afforded proper weight. Medical opinions are defined as “statements from acceptable
medical sources that reflect judgments about the nature and severity of your impairment(s),
including your symptoms, diagnosis and prognosis, what you can still do despite impairment(s),
and your physical or mental restrictions.” 20 C.F.R. § 416.927. Here, Dr. Mills’s records
reflected no opinion about how Plaintiff’s symptoms would affect her ability to work or go about
daily life, proposed no restrictions on her activities, and offered no insight as to the functional
effects of her impairments. See Transcript (“Tr.”) at 350, 352, 356, 395, 398. Thus, the case is
distinguishable from Jasper, where an expert who testified at Jasper’s hearing opined on how
Jasper’s impairments affect his ability to function as well as the need for further testing to assess
vocational impact and limitations imposed by particular impairments. Jasper v. Comm’r, SSA,
6:15-cv-792. Indeed, in both her briefing and objections, Plaintiff did not point to any statements
by Dr. Mills that she contends qualify as “medical opinion.” Therefore, the Court finds the
Magistrate Judge did not err in failing to consider the proper legal standard.
whether substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s finding because the ALJ failed to articulate and
explain the weight given to each of the medical opinions,” again citing Jasper. (Dkt. No. 33, at
3.) However, the record reflects that the Magistrate Judge noted the weight given to medical
opinions in the record, and also noted that such opinions were supported by objective medical
evidence. (Dkt. No. 21, at 8–11.) As such, the Magistrate Judge did not err in finding the ALJ’s
findings to be supported by substantial evidence.
Therefore, 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.
So ORDERED and SIGNED this 8 day of July, 2017.
Ron Clark, United States District Judge
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