United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
Teresa D. Alloway, Plaintiff,
Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
Magistrate Judge, Jolson
OPINION AND ORDER
MICHAEL H. WATSON, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
September 1, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation ("R&R") recommending that the
Court overrule Plaintiffs Statement of Errors and affirm the
Commissioner's decision. R&R, ECF No. 13. Plaintiff
objected to the R&R, and the Commissioner responded. ECF
Nos. 14 and 15. For the following reasons, the Court
OVERRULES Plaintiffs objections,
AFFIRMS and ADOPTS the
R&R, and DISMISSES
protectively filed for Social Security Disability Insurance
benefits on July 15, 2015, alleging that she had been
disabled since September 14, 2012. R&R 1, ECF No. 13.
After her initial applications were denied, Plaintiff went
before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Thomas Wang
for a hearing. ALJ Decision, ECF No. 9, at PAGEID # 59. On
November 25, 2015, the ALJ issued an opinion denying
Plaintiff benefits. Id. at PAGEID ## 56-71.
Following the Appeals Council's denial of her request for
review, the ALJ's opinion became final on August 19,
2016. Appeals Council Decision, ECF No. 9, at PAGEID ##38-41.
subsequently filed a timely Complaint for review in this
Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The Magistrate
Judge analyzed Plaintiffs Statement of Errors and recommended
the Court affirm the Commissioner's decision. Plaintiff
objected to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation.
party objects to the Magistrate Judge's summary of the
facts as set forth in her R&R. R&R 1-8, ECF No. 13.
The Court consequently adopts the fact summary and repeats
only those facts relevant to the resolution of Plaintiffs
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
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)).
objects to the Magistrate Judge's decision on the basis
that the R&R failed to adequately consider the ALJ's
disregard of Plaintiffs treating physician Phillip Short,
M.D. Upon de novo review of the evidence, the Court
finds the Magistrate Judge did not err.
evaluating medical opinion evidence in a Social Security
case, "the ALJ is bound by the so-called 'treating
physician rule, ' which generally requires the ALJ to
give greater deference to the opinions of treating physicians
than to the opinions of non-treating physicians."
Friend v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec,375 Fed.Appx. 543,
550 (6th Cir. 2010). The Commissioner is required to give a
treating physician's opinion controlling weight if the
opinion is "well-supported by medically acceptable
clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques and is not
inconsistent with the other substantial evidence ...."
20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(2). If the treating
physician's opinion is not given controlling weight, then
the Commissioner must offer "good reasons" as to
the weight given instead. Id. at §
404.1527(c)(2). "These reasons must be 'supported by
the evidence in the case record, and must be sufficiently
specific to make clear to any subsequent reviewers the weight
the adjudicator gave to the ...