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Crumrine-Husseini v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

March 30, 2017

Christine A. Crumrine-Husseini, Plaintiff,
v.
Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          Deavers Magistrate Judge

          OPINION AND ORDER

          MICHAEL H. WATSON, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Plaintiff objects to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation ("R&R") dated February 17, 2017, ECF No. 19.[1] In the R&R, ECF No. 18, Magistrate Judge Deavers recommended that the Court overrule Plaintiffs Statement of Specific Errors, in which Plaintiff challenged the Commissioner of Social Security's (the "Commissioner") decision to deny Plaintiffs application for social security disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income.

         For the reasons that follow, the Court OVERRULES Plaintiffs objections, AFFIRMS and ADOPTS the R&R, and DISMISSES Plaintiffs complaint.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff applied for benefits on October 17, 2012, alleging that she became disabled on July 15, 2007. Plaintiff specifically alleged that she experienced a head injury at that time and has since suffered from amnesia.

         After Plaintiffs initial application was denied, an administrative law judge ("ALT) held a hearing on Plaintiffs application. The ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act (the "Act"). That decision became final on November 5, 2015, when the Appeals Council denied review.

         Plaintiff subsequently filed suit for judicial review of the Commissioner's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Magistrate Judge Deavers analyzed Plaintiffs Statement of Specific Errors and recommended that the Court overrule the same. Plaintiff now objects to Magistrate Judge Deavers' conclusions in the R&R.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Standard of Review

         When a party objects to an R&R within the allotted time, the Court "shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). Upon 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).

         It is well settled that, when objecting to an R&R, a party must make "specific written objections" to the magistrate judge's proposed findings and recommendations. Fed R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3). A general statement that the magistrate judge erred does not aid judicial efficiency, the purpose "for which the use of magistrates [was] authorized." Howard v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 932 F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir. 1991); see also Holl v. Potter, No. C-1-09- 618, 2011 WL 4337038, at *1 (S.D. Ohio Sept. 15, 2011), affd, 506 F.App'x 438 (2012) ("Objections that merely restate arguments raised in the memoranda considered by the Magistrate Judge are not proper, and the Court may consider such repetitive arguments waived.").

         The Court must analyze Plaintiff's objections in light of the standard of review in social security cases, which Magistrate Judge Deavers correctly set forth in the R&R:

When reviewing a case under the Social Security Act, the Court "must affirm the Commissioner's decision if it 'is supported by substantial evidence and was made pursuant to proper legal standards.'" Rabbers v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec, 582 F.3d 647, 651 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Rogers v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec, 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007)); see also 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) ("[t]he findings of the Commissioner of Social Security as to any fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive . . . ."). Under this standard, "substantial evidence is defined as 'more than a scintilla of evidence but less than a preponderance; it is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.'" Rogers, 486 F.3d at 241 (quoting Cutlip v. Sec'y of Health & Hum. Servs.,25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir. 1994)). Although the substantial evidence standard is deferential, it is not trivial. The Court must "'take into account whatever in the record fairly detracts from [the] weight'" of the Commissioner's decision. TNS, Inc. v. NLRB, 296 F.3d 384, 395 (6th Cir. 2002) (quoting Universal Camera Corp. v. NLRB,340 U.S. 474, 487 (1951)). Nevertheless, "if substantial evidence supports the ALJ's decision, this Court defers to that finding 'even if there is substantial evidence in the record that would have supported an opposite conclusion.'" Blakley v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec,581 F.3d 399, 406 (quoting Key v. Callahan,109 F.3d 270, 273 (6th Cir. 1997)). Finally, even If the ALJ's decision meets the ...

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