United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga
K. Lee Magistrate Judge.
R. MCDONOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are cross-motions for summary judgment. (Docs. 16,
21.) The Court referred the matter to Magistrate Judge Susan
K. Lee, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Rule 72 of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for a report and
recommendation. On July 14, 2017, Magistrate Judge Lee
entered a report and recommendation, recommending that the
Court: (1) deny Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment;
(2) grant the Commissioner's motion for summary judgment;
and (3) affirm the Commissioner's decision denying
Plaintiff supplemental social security income. (See
generally Doc. 23.) Plaintiff timely filed objections to
Magistrate Judge Lee's report and recommendation (Doc.
24), and Defendant responded (Doc. 25). For the reasons
stated herein, the Court will: (1) ACCEPT
and ADOPT the magistrate judge's report
and recommendation (Doc. 23); (2) DENY
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 16); (3)
GRANT Defendant's motion for summary
judgment (Doc. 21); and (4) AFFIRM the
Commissioner's decision to deny Plaintiff supplemental
social security income.
report and recommendation, Magistrate Judge Lee detailed the
procedural and factual background underlying this matter. The
parties have not objected to Magistrate Judge Lee's
recitation of the facts, and the Court finds that the facts
set forth in the report and recommendation are accurate.
Accordingly, for the purposes of reviewing Plaintiff's
objections to Magistrate Judge Lee's report and
recommendation, the Court ADOPTS BY
REFERENCE the facts set forth in the report and
recommendation. (Doc. 23.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court must conduct a de novo review of those
portions of the report and recommendation to which objections
are 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). In doing so, the Court's
standard of review is essentially the same as the magistrate
judge's-review is limited to determining if the
administrative law judge's (“ALJ”) findings
are supported by substantial evidence and if proper legal
standards were applied. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Brainard
v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 889 F.2d 679,
681 (6th Cir. 1989) (per curiam). “Substantial
evidence” is “more than a mere scintilla”
and means “such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind
might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.”
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971). If
supported by substantial evidence, the Court must affirm the
ALJ's findings, even if substantial evidence also
supports the opposite conclusion. Jones v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 336 F.3d 469, 475 (6th Cir. 2003).
the Court is required to engage in a de novo review
of specific objections, if the objections merely restate the
arguments asserted in Plaintiff's earlier motion, which
were addressed by the magistrate judge's report and
recommendation, the Court may deem those objections waived.
See VanDiver v. Martin, 304 F.Supp.2d 934, 937 (E.D.
Mich. 2004). “A general objection, or one that merely
restates the arguments previously presented, ” however,
“is not sufficient to alert the court to alleged errors
on the part of the magistrate judge.” Id.
“An ‘objection' that does nothing more than
state a disagreement with a magistrate's suggested
resolution, or simply summarizes what has been presented
before, is not an ‘objection' as that term is used
in this context.” Id. The Sixth Circuit has
also explained that:
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
Howard v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs.,
932 F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir. 1991).
case, Plaintiff objects to the magistrate judge's report
and recommendation, arguing that: (1) the ALJ failed to give
appropriate weight to the opinions of her treating physician;
and (2) the ALJ's decision was not supported by
substantial evidence. Based on these arguments, Plaintiff
contends the magistrate judge erred by failing to overrule
the ALJ's decision denying her supplemental social
security benefits. (See Doc. 24.)
motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff argued that the ALJ
failed to give appropriate weight to the opinions of her
treating physician and that the ALJ's decision was not
supported by substantial evidence. (Doc. 16-1, at 1-4.)
Magistrate Judge Lee considered these exact arguments and
rejected them, finding that the ALJ provided good reasons for
discounting the treating physician's opinions and that
the ALJ's decision was supported by substantial evidence.
(Doc. 23, at 6-14.) The Court agrees with Magistrate Judge
Lee's well-reasoned report and recommendation affirming
the ALJ's decision, which, contrary to Plaintiff's
arguments, is consistent with the standards set forth in
Gayhart v. Commissioner of Social Security, 710 F.3d
365, 375-76 (6th Cir. 2012) (discussing the standards for
weighing medical opinions).