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Morris v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

April 6, 2017

William C. Morris, Plaintiff,
v.
Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          Magistrate Judge, Kemp

          OPINION AND ORDER

          MICHAEL H. WATSON, JUDGE

         On November 7, 2016, the assigned United States Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation ("R&R"), ECF No. 15, recommending 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 applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental social security income. Plaintiff objects to the R&R. ECF No. 16.

         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 19, 2012, alleging that she became disabled on January 1, 2009. After Plaintiffs initial application was denied, an administrative law judge ("ALJ") 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 December 21, 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). The Magistrate Judge analyzed Plaintiffs Statement of Specific Errors and recommended that the Court overrule the same. Plaintiff now objects to the Magistrate Judge's 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), aff'd, 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 the Magistrate Judge correctly set forth in the R&R:

Under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. Section 405(g), "[t]he findings of the Secretary [now the Commissioner] as to any fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive. . . ." Substantial evidence is '"such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion."' Richardson v. Perales,402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)). It is "'more than a mere scintilla.'" Id. LeMaster v. Weinberger,533 F.2d 337, 339 (6th Cir. 1976). The Commissioner's findings of fact must be based upon the record as a whole. Harris v. Heckler,756 F.2d 431, 435 (6th Cir. 1985); Houston v. Secretary,736 F.2d 365, 366 (6th Cir. 1984); Fraley v. Secretary,733 F.2d 437, 439-440 (6th Cir. 1984). In determining whether the Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial evidence, the Court must "'take into account whatever in the record fairly detracts from its weight.'" Beavers v. Sec'y of Health, Educ. & Welfare,577 F.2d 383, 387 (6th Cir. 1978) (quoting Universal Camera Corp. v. NLRB, 340 U.S. 474, 488 (1951)); Images v. Secretary of Health and Human Servs.,755 F.2d 495, 497 (6th Cir. ...

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