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Crawford v. Astrue

March 5, 2008

ROBIN L. CRAWFORD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Mattice

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Robin L. Crawford brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking judicial review of the decision of Defendant, the Commissioner of Social Security, denying him disability insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits.

Before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [Court Doc. 18] and the Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment [Court Doc. 22]. By standing order of the Court, this matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge William B. Carter for a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") on the above motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). (Court Doc. 58.) Magistrate Judge Carter entered his R&R on January 28, 2008 recommending that Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings be granted in part and denied in part, that Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment be granted in part and denied in part, that the Commissioner's decision denying Supplemental Security Income benefits be reversed and that the case be remanded to the Administrative Law Judge for further proceedings. (Court Doc. No. 26.) Defendant has filed a timely objection to the R&R. (Court Doc. 27.)

For the reasons stated below, the Court OVERRULES Defendant's objection and ACCEPTS and ADOPTS Magistrate Judge Carter's Report and Recommendation.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

The Court must conduct a de novo review of those portions of the R&R to which an objection is made and may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the Magistrate Judge's findings or recommendations. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). For those portions of the R&R to which objections have been filed, the Court will directly review the decision-making process underlying the Commissioner's denial of benefits. Id.

The Court must determine whether substantial evidence supports the Commissioner's denial of benefits. Substantial evidence is defined as "more than a mere scintilla" of evidence and "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971).

II. FACTS

Magistrate Judge Carter's R&R fully sets forth the relevant facts in this case. There have been no objections to the facts as reported in the R&R. Accordingly, the Court ADOPTS BY REFERENCE the fact section of the R&R. (Court Doc. 26 at 5-11.)

III. ANALYSIS

Neither party has objected to the portion of Magistrate Judge Carter's R&R that affirms the Commissioner's denial of Plaintiff's disability insurance benefits. (Court Doc. 26 at 11-15.) Accordingly, the Court ACCEPTS and ADOPTS Magistrate Judge Carter's recommendation that the Commissioner's denial of disability insurance benefits be affirmed pursuant to § 636(b)(1) and Rule 72(b). Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [Court Doc. 18] is DENIED and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [Court Doc. 22] is GRANTED with respect to Plaintiff's disability insurance benefits.

Magistrate Judge Carter recommended that the Commissioner's denial of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits be reversed and the case be remanded to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for further proceedings. (Court Doc. 26 at 20.) Magistrate Judge Carter specifically stated that, upon remand, the Commissioner should be directed to obtain additional medical evidence because consulting physician reports of Dr. Pinga and Dr. Moore upon which the ALJ previously relied were "clearly inconsistent with other evidence of record." (Id. at 17.)

Defendant objects to Magistrate Judge Carter's recommendation that the Commissioner's denial of SSI benefits be reversed and that this issue be remanded for further proceedings. (Court Doc. 27 at 2.) Defendant argues that, even accepting Magistrate Judge Carter's finding that the opinions of Dr. Pinga and Dr. Moore were not based on substantial evidence, ...


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