United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
Timothy J. Stevens, Plaintiff,
Commissioner of Social Security Defendant.
MICHAEL R. BARRETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon the Magistrate Judge's
December 1, 2017, Report and Recommendation
(“Report”), which recommends that the decision of
the Defendant Commissioner be affirmed and this matter be
closed on the docket of the Court. (Doc. 16).
was given to the parties under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C)
and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b) (Doc. 16, PageID 513). Plaintiff
Stevens timely filed objections to the Report on December 15,
2017. (Doc. 17). The Defendant Commissioner responded only to
the extent that Plaintiff failed to raise any novel
objections. (Doc. 18). This matter is now ripe for review.
February of 2013, Plaintiff Stevens filed for Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) alleging disabilities,
which included a back injury and diabetes. (Doc. 16, PageID
490). In the resulting proceedings, only two sources opined
on Plaintiff Steven's ability to partake in general
work-activities with or without limitation: (1) the
state's non-examining physician, Dr. Syd Foster, D.O.,
and (2) the Plaintiff's nurse practitioner, Barbara
Faber. (Doc. 16, PageID 498). Both of these individuals
relied on MRI results from 2013 showing signs of mild
generative disc disease as well as a mild foraminal stenosis
at ¶ 5-S1. (Doc. 16, Page ID 498-99). Based on this MRI
and other medical records pre-dating his November 4, 2013
review, Dr. Foster only recommended that Plaintiff be
restricted from “climbing/ropes/scaffolds and to avoid
concentrated exposure to machinery, heights, and other
Faber began treating the Plaintiff in October of 2012, and
typically saw him every three to six months. (Doc. 16, PageID
498-99). On August 11, 2014, Nurse Faber issued her opinion
diagnosing the Plaintiff with chronic back pain and lumbar
spondylosis with bilateral lower extremity radiculitis.
(Id.). Unlike Dr. Foster, Nurse Faber recommended
substantial work-limitations, including unscheduled 20-minute
breaks every hour, absences from work at least four days each
month, and many other physical work-restrictions.
(Id.). She also believed that Plaintiff's
impairments would mentally interfere with the Plaintiff's
ability to concentrate and complete his work. (Id.).
considered the records and ailments that arose during the gap
in time following Dr. Foster's review; however, he found
that the objective evidence-specifically, the 2013 MRI
results-did not support the severe limitations posited by
Nurse Faber. (Doc. 16, PageID 501-03). Ultimately, the ALJ
gave more weight to the diagnoses and recommendations made by
Dr. Foster, and denied Plaintiff's SSI application. (Doc.
16, PageID 490).
Stevens maintains that the Magistrate Judge's Report was
in error for the following reasons: (1) the ALJ erroneously
gave “great weight” to the non-examining state
agency physician, (2) the ALJ's credibility determination
was in error, and (3) the ALJ failed to address all of the
medical opinions and evidence in the record when reaching his
light of the Plaintiff's objections, it is prudent to
reiterate that district court review of objections to a
report and recommendation should not be duplicative.
Howard v. Sec'y of H.H.S., 932 F.2d 505, 509
(6th Cir. 1991). “Merely restating arguments previously
presented, stating a disagreement with a magistrate
judge's suggested resolution, or simply summarizing what
has been presented before is not a specific objection that
alerts the district court to the alleged errors on the part
of the magistrate judge.” Renchen
v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29910
at *3-4 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 11, 2015) (citing Howard,
932 F.2d at 508-09).
objections are received to a magistrate judge's report
and recommendation on a dispositive matter, the district
court “must determine de novo any part of the
magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly
objected to.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). Following this
review, the district court “may accept, reject, or
modify the recommended disposition; receive further evidence;
or return the matter to the magistrate judge with
instructions.” Id.; see also 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
The ALJ gave appropriate weight to the non-examining
objects to the Magistrate Judge's finding that the ALJ
did not err in giving “great weight” to the
assessment of the non-examining state physician, Dr. Foster.
(Doc. 17, PageID 515). Plaintiff offers no new information or