United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
JENNIFER L. ROLLINS, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
WEHRMAN MAGISTRATE JUDGE
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM L. CAMPBELL, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Jennifer Rollins brings this action under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3), seeking judicial review
of the Social Security Administration's
(“SSA”) denial of her application for disability
insurance benefits and supplemental security income under
Title II and Title XVI of the Social Security Act.
February 28, 2019, the magistrate judge issued a Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) (Doc. No. 16),
recommending that the Court deny Plaintiff's Motion for
Judgment on the Administrative Record. Plaintiff filed timely
objections (Doc. No. 17), to which the Commissioner has
responded (Doc. No. 21). For the reasons discussed herein,
the Objections are OVERRULED, the R&R is ADOPTED,
Plaintiff's Motion for Judgement Based on the
Administrative Record is DENIED.
Jennifer Rollins filed an application for disability
insurance benefits on September 15, 2014, alleging that she
had been disabled since October 1, 2013, due to back and neck
pain, arthritis, depression, and anxiety. (Administrative
Transcript (“TR”), Doc. No. 10.) Plaintiff's
application was denied initially (TR 69-70) and upon
reconsideration (TR 103-04). Plaintiff subsequently requested
and received a hearing. (TR 41.) Following a hearing on
November 15, 2016, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Donald E. Garrison issued an unfavorable
decision on February 1, 2017. The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for a review of the ALJ's
decision. Therefore, the ALJ's decision stands as the
final determination of the Commissioner.
determined that Plaintiff is not disabled under sections
216(i) and 223(d) of the Social Security Act. (TR 26.) The
ALJ found that although Plaintiff suffers from lumbar and
cervical degenerative disc disease, chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease, obesity, and panic disorder, she has
residual functional capacity to perform light work with some
limitations. (TR 23-24.) The ALJ found that there are jobs
Plaintiff can perform existing in the national economy in
significant numbers. (TR 25-26.)
filed a Complaint initiating this action on March 2, 2018.
(Doc. No. 1.) The Commissioner filed an Answer (Doc. No. 9)
denying liability, and a complete copy of the Administrative
Record (Doc. No. 10). On June 8, 2018, Plaintiff filed a
Motion for Judgment Based on the Administrative Record and a
supporting memorandum. (Doc. Nos. 13 and 14.) The
Commissioner filed a Response (Doc. No. 15).
asserts that the ALJ failed to consider properly the opinions
of treating and examining sources and improperly discounted
Plaintiff's credibility. The magistrate judge issued an
R&R, recommending the Court deny Plaintiff's motion
for judgment on the record and affirm the decision of the
ALJ. (Doc. No. 16.) The magistrate judge found the ALJ had
properly considered the opinions of treating and examining
sources and adequately explained the weight given to their
opinions; and found the ALJ made an appropriate determination
of Plaintiff's credibility. (Id.)
before the Court are Plaintiff's Objections to the
R&R (Doc. No. 17) and the Commissioner's Response to
Plaintiff's Objections (Doc. No. 21).
district court reviews de novo any portion of a
report and recommendation to which a specific objection is
made. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(1)(C); Local Rule 72.02; 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(C); United States v. Curtis, 237
F.3d 598, 603 (6th Cir. 2001). General or conclusory
objections are insufficient. See Zimmerman v. Cason,
354 Fed.Appx. 228, 230 (6th Cir. 2009). Thus, “only
those specific objections to the magistrate's report made
to the district court will be preserved for appellate
review.” Id. (quoting Smith v. Detroit
Fed'n of Teachers, 829 F.2d 1370, 1373 (6th Cir.
1987)). In conducting the review, the court “may
accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings
or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3).
Social Security cases, the Commissioner determines whether a
claimant is disabled within the meaning of the Social
Security Act and, as such, entitled to benefits. 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(h). The Court's review of the decision of the
ALJ is limited to a determination of whether the ALJ applied
the correct legal standards and whether the findings of the
ALJ are supported by substantial evidence. Miller v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 811 F.3d 825, 833 (6th Cir.
2016) (quoting Blakley v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
581 F.3d 399, 405 (6th Cir. 2009)); see 28 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) (“The findings of the Commissioner of
Social Security as to any fact, if supported by substantial
evidence, shall be conclusive.”). The substantial
evidence standard is met if a “reasonable mind might
accept the relevant evidence as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Warner v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 375 F.3d 387, 390 (6th Cir. 2004) (internal
citations omitted). “The substantial evidence standard
… presupposes that there is a zone of choice within
which the decision makers can go either way, without
interference by the courts.” Blakley, 581 F.3d
at 406 (quoting Mullen v. ...