United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
Margaret J. Nelson, Plaintiff,
Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
Magistrate Judge, Jolson
OPINION AND ORDER
MICHAEL H. WATSON, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
October 26, 2017, Magistrate Judge Jolson issued a Report and
Recommendation ("R&R") recommending the Court
overrule Margaret J. Nelson's ("Plaintiff')
Statement of Specific Errors and affirm the
Commissioner's decision in this social security case.
R&R, ECF No. 14. Plaintiff objects to the R&R. Obj.,
ECF No. 15. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's
objections are OVERRULED.
filed her application for Period of Disability and Disability
Insurance Benefits on March 4, 2013. Her application was
denied initially and on reconsideration. Plaintiff requested
a hearing before an administrative law judge
("ALJ"), who, after a hearing, denied Period of
Disability and Disability Insurance Benefits to Plaintiff.
The Appeals Council denied Plaintiffs request to review the
ALJ decision, and Plaintiff thereafter filed suit in this
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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. §
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
Fed.Appx. 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.").
in Social Security cases, the Court's review "is
limited to determining whether the Commissioner's
decision 'is supported by substantial evidence and was
made pursuant to the proper legal standards.'"
Ealy v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec, 594 F.3d 504, 512
(6th Cir. 2010) (quoting Rogers v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec, 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007)). In this
context, "[substantial evidence is defined as 'more
than a scintilla of evidence but less than a
preponderance" Rogers, 486 F.3d at 421 (quoting
Cutlip v. Sec'y of Health & Human
Servs., 25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir. 1994)). Put another
way, "[substantial evidence exists when 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) (quoting Kirk v. Sec'y of Health
& Human Servs., 667 F.2d 524, 535 (6th Cir. 1997)).
Objection Regarding the ALJ's Treatment of Dr.
objects to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that the ALJ
properly evaluated the treating source opinion of Dr. Balogh.
Plaintiff contends that the ALJ failed to reasonably account
for Dr. Balogh's finding that Plaintiff suffered from
impaired attention span and concentration and that she was
easily distracted. Plaintiff contends that, in discounting
Dr. Balogh's opinion, the ALJ relied heavily on certain
portions of Dr. Balogh's treatment notes but gave short
shrift to those portions of his treatment notes that
supported his opinion. Plaintiff argues, ultimately, that
this cursory treatment of portions of Dr. Balogh's notes
and his treating source opinion amounted to a failure to
weigh the record as a whole.
Court declines to consider this objection as it is so vague
and cursory that it does not amount to a "specific
written objection to the proposed findings and
recommendations" as required under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 72(b)(2). For example, the objection states the ALJ
"leaned heavily upon certain items in Dr. Balogh's
treatment notes" but does not cite to the ALJ decision
or Dr. Balogh's treatment notes to identify what those
portions were. It then contends conclusorily that the ALJ
gave "short shrift" to "the findings most
salient to her ability to sustain even simple, routine work
activities" but again does not point the Court to any
specific portions of Dr. Balogh's treatment notes
pertinent to Plaintiffs ability to sustain simple, routine
work activities. Without even a single citation to the
medical evidence (Dr. Balogh's notes), the ALJ's
decision, or the R&R, the Court is unable to thoughtfully
consider such an objection.
although the legal basis of the objection itself is vague and
difficult to decipher, it appears in any event to be waived.
Plaintiff presented three specific arguments regarding the
ALJ's treatment of Dr. Balogh's opinion in her
Statement of Specific Errors. First, Plaintiff argued that
the ALJ's failure to give controlling weight to Dr.
Balough's opinion was erroneous because Dr. Balogh's
opinion was supported by the evidence in the record and the
opinions of the non-examining State agency medical
consultants and consultative examiners. Second, Plaintiff
argued the ALJ failed to discuss certain required factors