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Byrd v. Astrue

September 16, 2008

CAROLYN BYRD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas A. Varlan United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This Social Security appeal is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation [Doc. 19] filed by United States Magistrate Judge H. Bruce Guyton on February 12, 2008. Magistrate Judge Guyton found that the Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, Magistrate Judge Guyton recommended that plaintiff's motion for summary judgment [Doc. 12] be denied and that defendant's motion for summary judgment [Doc. 16] be granted.

Plaintiff filed a document entitled Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation [Doc. 20]. However, for the reasons discussed below, the Court determines that plaintiff does raise specific objections to the Report and Recommendation, and therefore, plaintiff's arguments will not be treated as such.

I. Standard of Review

The Court must conduct a de novo review of portions of the magistrate judge's R&R to which a party's specific objections unless the objections are frivolous, conclusive, or general. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b); Smith v. Detroit Fed'n of Teachers, Local 231, 829 F.2d 1370, 1373 (6th Cir. 1987); Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d 636 (6th Cir. 1986). Although the Court is required to engage in de novo review of specific objections, if the objections merely restate the party's arguments raised in the motion for summary judgment and addressed by the magistrate judge, the Court may deem the objections waived. See VanDiver v. Martin, 304 F. Supp. 2d 934, 937 (E.D. Mich. 2004) ("An'objection' that... simply summarizes what has been presented before, is not an objection as that term is used in this context."). The Sixth Circuit has explained,

A general objection to the entirety of the magistrate's report has the same effects as would a failure to object. The district court's attention is not focused on any specific issues for review, thereby making the initial reference to the magistrate useless. The functions of the district court are effectively duplicated as both the magistrate and the district court perform identical tasks. This duplication of time and effort wastes judicial resources rather than saving them, and runs contrary to the purposes of the Magistrates Act.

Howard v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 932 F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir. 1991).

II. Analysis

Plaintiff's filing entitled Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation [Doc. 20] repeats the arguments that she made in her memorandum in support of her motion for summary judgement [Doc. 13]. Her arguments are that the ALJ failed to accord proper weight to the opinions of plaintiff's long-time treating physician and that the ALJ incorrectly determined that plaintiff retains residual functional capacity. Because plaintiff simply summarizes the same arguments considered by Magistrate Judge Guyton, de novo review of plaintiff's arguments would make the original referral to the magistrate judge useless and would waste judicial resources. See Howard, 932 F.2d at 509. Accordingly, the Court does not consider plaintiff's arguments to be specific objections to the Report and Recommendation and it will not engage in de novo review.

Because no proper objections were timely filed, the Court will treat any objections as having been waived. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). Magistrate Judge Guyton found that there was substantial evidence to support the Commissioner's decision. The Court has carefully reviewed this matter, including the underlying pleadings [Docs. 12, 13, 16, 17] and is in agreement with Magistrate Judge Guyton's recommendation which the Court adopts and incorporates into its ruling.

III. Conclusion

Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment [Doc. 12] is DENIED and defendant's motion for summary judgment [Doc. 16] is GRANTED. The Court ACCEPTS IN WHOLE the Report and Recommendation [Doc. 19], defendant Commissioner's decision in this case denying plaintiff's applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits will be AFFIRMED; and this case will be DISMISSED.

ORDER ACCORDINGLY.

20080916 ...


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