United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
WARREN D. GREEN, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER
R. ADAMS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the objections filed by
Plaintiff Warren D. Green (“Green”) to the Report
and Recommendation (“R&R”) of the Magistrate
Judge. This action was referred to the Magistrate Judge for
an R&R on Green's Appeal of the Social Security
Administration's decision to deny his claim for
disability insurance benefits. Magistrate Judge Ruiz issued
his R&R recommending that the Commissioner's decision
be affirmed. Green has filed his objections to that decision
and the Commissioner has replied in support of the R&R.
reasons stated below, Green's objections are OVERRULED.
The R&R is adopted in whole and the decision of the
Commissioner is hereby AFFIRMED.
party has identified an error in the factual and procedural
history reflected in the R&R, which adequately sets forth
that background. The Court will therefore adopt the history
as written without reiterating those sections herein.
Standard of Review
District courts conduct de novo review of those
portions of a magistrate judge's R&R to which
specific objections are made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
However, in social security cases, judicial review of a
decision by the Commissioner is limited to determining
whether the decision is supported by substantial evidence
based upon the record as a whole. Longworth v. Comm'r
of Soc. Sec., 402 F.3d 591, 595 (6th Cir. 2005). 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). If substantial
evidence supports the Commissioner's decision, this Court
will defer to that finding “even if there is
substantial evidence in the record that would have supported
an opposite conclusion.” Id.
states three objections to the Magistrate's decision
affirming the Commissioner's decision to deny his
application for benefits. First, Green contends that the ALJ
failed to build an accurate and logical bridge between the
evidence cited and the ALJ's credibility determination
and that the Magistrate Judge erred in finding no flaw in the
ALJ's determination. Second, Green contends that the
Magistrate Judge erred in concluding that the ALJ's
Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”)
determination was supported by substantial evidence. Third,
Green contends that the Magistrate Judge incorrectly found
that the ALJ's Step Five analysis was supported by
substantial evidence. Green's objections to the R&R
substantively restate his original assignments of error: (1)
the ALJ failed to properly evaluate his neurofibromatosis and
psychiatric impairments at step three of the substantial
evaluation (restated in response to the R&R as an
objection the Magistrate's finding that the ALJ's RFC
determination was supported by substantial evidence); (2) the
ALJ did not properly evaluate Green's credibility and (3)
the ALJ failed to meet his burden at Step Five of the
sequential evaluation. (Doc. #13). Although Green's
objections to the R&R similarly restate the arguments
made in his original merits brief, the Court will address
each in turn.
regard to his first objection, concerning the ALJ's
credibility determination, Green ignores the detailed
discussion of his medical history with regard to his stated
impairments, which was quoted extensively in the R&R.
Green cites this court's decision in Fleischer v.
Astrue, 774 F.Supp. 875, 877 (N.D. Ohio, March 1, 2011)
in support of his contention that both the ALJ's decision
and the R&R lack the necessary logical bridge between the
evidence cited and the ultimate credibility findings.
Contrary to Green's representations, the R&R directly
addresses the connection between the ALJ's decision and
the material in the record:
went on to address the credibility of these allegations as
After careful consideration of the evidence, I find that the
claimant's medically determinable impairments could
reasonably be expected to cause the alleged symptoms;
however, the claimant's statements concerning the
intensity, persistence and limiting effects of these symptoms
are not entirely credible for the reasons explained in this
decision. * * * Relevant to the claimant alleged
neurofibromatosis and degenerative disc disease of the lumbar
spine, the claimant was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis on
March 27, 2008 (2F/3), and x-ray examination dated January
15, 2015 indicated degenerative changes to the lumbar spine
(13F/4). While these findings would be consistent with the
claimant's allegations of mid-back to low-back pain
(2A/6), “aching and throbbing” in nature and
descending to his left calf (l5F/2), the record, when
considered as a whole, is not supportive of the contention
that the existence of this impairment would be preclusive of
all types of work.
X-ray examination of the claimant's lumbar spine, dated
January 15, 2015, indicated "minimal" degenerative
changes (13F/4). Diagnostic imaging of the lumbar spine,
dated December 18, 2014, indicated findings consistent with
the claimant's history of neurofibromatosis, but no
stenosis at any level of the lumbar spine, findings stable
since 2012 (13F/15-16).
The claimant was assessed by a neurosurgeon on May 5, 2015 as
a non-surgical candidate (15F/2) and his pain management
treating source noted on August 3, 2015, that the claimant
had no lesions ...