United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
Jolson, Magistrate Judge
OPINION & ORDER
ALGENON L. MARBLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court for consideration of Plaintiff
Tammy Michelle Randall's Objection to the Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 10). The
Magistrate Judge recommended that this Court overrule Ms.
Randall's Statement of Specific Errors, (ECF No. 7), and
affirm the Commissioner of Social Security's decision.
Upon independent review by this Court, and for the reasons
set forth below, Ms. Randall's Objection is hereby
OVERRULED. The Court
ACCEPTS and AFFIRMS the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation.
Randall applied for Title XVI Supplemental Security
Disability Benefits on January 31, 2014 and applied for Title
II Social Security Benefits on May 6, 2014. (ECF No. 6 at
PageID 51). She asserted that she has been disabled since
October 30, 2013 due to hearing loss, hypertension,
degenerative disc disease, lumbar spine impairment, cervical
spine impairment, and severe back pain. (Id. at
PageID 260-63). After initial administrative denials of Ms.
Randall's applications, an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) held a hearing on February 27, 2017 at
Ms. Randall's request. (Id. at PageID 51). On
May 8, 2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Ms. Ross
was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security
Act. (Id. at PageID 48-67).
opinion denying benefits, the ALJ conducted the required
five-step sequential analysis for disability benefits claims.
See 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4). At step one, the
ALJ determined that Ms. Randall has not engaged in
substantially gainful activity since August 2013, before her
alleged onset date. (ECF No. 6 at PageID 53).
two, the ALJ found that Ms. Randall had the following severe
impairments: degenerative disc disease, unspecified
arthropathies (hallux valgus deformity, osteoporosis),
bipolar disorder, and anxiety. (Id.). The ALJ found
that Ms. Randall's substance use disorder and alcohol
abuse disorder did not constitute severe impairments.
(Id. at PageID 54). Also, the ALJ found no medically
determinable evidence sufficient to substantiate impairments
from irritable bowel syndrome, carpal tunnel, or migraines.
three, the ALJ further found that Ms. Randall's
impairments, whether taken alone or in combination, did not
meet or medically equal one of the listed impairments
described in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
(Id. at PageID 55-57).
four, the ALJ found that Ms. Randall has the residual
functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform sedentary
work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(a) and §
416.967(a), except she was limited to: (1) lift and/or carry
ten pounds occasionally and less than ten pounds frequently;
(2) sit for six hours in an eight-hour workday and stand
and/or walk two hours in an eight-hour workday; (3) push
and/or pull as much as she can lift and/or carry; (4) climb
ramps and stairs occasionally and never climb ladder, ropes,
or scaffolds; (5) have occasional exposure to vibration; (6)
need to change positions a maximum frequency of every thirty
minutes; (7) understand, remember, and carryout simple
routine and repetitive tasks; (8) use judgment limited to
simple work-related decisions; (9) tolerate few changes in a
routine work setting defined as performing the same duties at
the same duty station or location from day to day; and (10)
occasional and superficial contact with supervisors,
co-workers and the public. (Id. at PageID 57). The
ALJ determined that the RFC indicated Ms. Randall was unable
to perform any past relevant work. (Id. at PageID
five, the ALJ found that Ms. Randall can perform jobs that
exist in significant numbers in the national economy.
(Id. at PageID 65-67). Thus, the ALJ concluded that
Ms. Randall was not disabled. (Id. at PageID 67).
Appeals Council denied Ms. Randall's request for review
of the ALJ's determination on July 5, 2017, rendering the
ALJ's benefits-denial decision the Commissioner's
final agency action. Ms. Randall then filed suit in federal
court, alleging in her Statement of Errors that the ALJ
failed to weigh medical opinion evidence properly when
determining the RFC and failed to evaluate Ms. Randall's
testimony properly. (ECF No. 7). Ms. Randall also argues that
the ALJ relied on a flawed hypothetical question to the
vocational expert (“VE”) at Ms. Randall's
hearing. (Id.). On April 10, 2018, the Magistrate
Judge recommended that this Court overrule Ms. Randall's
Statement of Errors and affirm the Commissioner's denial
of benefits. (ECF No. 10). Ms. Randall timely objected, and
the Commissioner filed a response to the objection. (ECF Nos.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
objection to a magistrate judge's report and
recommendation, this Court must “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 Fed. R.
Civ. P. 72(b). This de novo review, in turn, requires the
Court to “determine whether the record as a whole
contains substantial evidence to support the ALJ's
decision” and to “determine whether the ALJ
applied the correct legal criteria.” Inman v.
Astrue, 920 F.Supp.2d 861, 863 (S.D. Ohio 2013).
Substantial evidence means relevant evidence that “a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Ealy v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
594 F.3d 504, 512 (6th Cir. 2010) (quotation omitted).
Substantial evidence is “more than a mere scintilla,
but only so much as would be required to prevent judgment as
a matter of law against the Commissioner if this case were
being tried to a jury.” Inman, 920 F.Supp.2d
at 863 (citing Foster v. Bowen, 853 F.2d 483, 486
(6th Cir. 1988)); see also Rogers v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007) (substantial
evidence is “more than a scintilla of evidence but less
than a preponderance”) (quotations omitted). If
“substantial evidence supports the ALJ's decision,
this Court defers to that finding even if there is
substantial evidence in the record that would have supported
the opposite conclusion.” Blakley v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 581 F.3d 399, 406 (quotation omitted).
The ALJ Properly Evaluated the Medical ...