United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
BRIANNA A. DOTSON, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
A. Trauger United States District Judge.
Brianna Dotson brought this action in the district court
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and 1383(c) seeking
judicial review of the final decision of the Social Security
Administration (SSA) through its Commissioner (the
Commissioner), denying her application for Supplemental
Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI of the Social Security
Act (the Act), 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381 et seq.
before the court is plaintiff's objection (Doc. 25) to
the Magistrate Judge's May 12, 2017 Report and
Recommendation (R&R) (Doc. 22) that recommended
plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative
record (Doc. 13) be denied and the Commissioner's denial
of benefits affirmed. The Commissioner replied on May 17,
2017. (Doc. 26)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
magistrate judge enters a R&R regarding a dispositive
matter, the district court must review de novo any
portion, proposed findings, or recommendations in the R&R
to which a proper objection is made. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1); Rule 72(b)(3), Fed. R. Civ. P.. In conducting its
review, the district court may accept, reject, modify the
recommended disposition in whole or in part, receive further
evidence, or return the matter to the magistrate judge with
instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Rule 72(b)(3), Fed.
R. Civ. P..
district court's review of the Commissioner's final
decision in a Social Security case is limited to determining
whether the Commissioner's decision is supported by
substantial evidence in the record, and whether the decision
was made pursuant to proper legal standards. 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1381(c); Gayheart v. Comm'r
of Soc. Sec., 710 F.3d 365, 374 (6th Cir.
2014). Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance but
more than a scintilla; it refers to relevant evidence that a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401
(1971); see Gentry v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 741
F.3d 708, 722 (6th Cir. 2003). The
Commissioner's decision must stand if substantial
evidence supports the conclusion reached, even if the
evidence supports a different conclusion. Gayheart,
710 F.3d at 374.
PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND EVIDENCE
procedural history set forth in the R&R (Doc. 22, pp.
1-3) has been reviewed, deemed factually correct, and
incorporated herein by reference. The evidence relevant to
plaintiff's single claim of error is addressed in the
PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION TO THE R&R
sole objection to the R&R is that the Magistrate Judge
erred in not considering Dr. Lynna Hollis, M.D., as a
treating source, thereby failing to accord her opinion
controlling weight. (Doc. 25, pp. 1-3) Plaintiff sets forth a
three-part argument in support of her objection: 1) two
Centerstone Medical Progress Notes (progress notes), the
first dated May 5, 2014 and the second July 7, 2014 (Doc. 25,
p. 2), establish that Dr. Hollis was a treating source; 2)
the Magistrate Judge erred in relying on Matelske v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 2013 WL 4520202 (W.D. Mich.
Aug. 26, 2013) and Bieri v. Astrue, 2008 WL 4185967
(S.D. Ohio Sept. 2, 2008) which stand for the proposition
that “a physician is not a treating source in the
absence of any evidence that the physician ever saw or
evaluated a claimant” (Doc. 25, p. 2); 3)
“substantial evidence of record supports the opinion of
. . . Dr. Hollis resulting in disabling limitations per SSA
guidelines . . . .” (Doc. 25, pp. 2-3)
Whether Dr. Hollis Was a Treating Source Based on The May 5,