United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. NUGENT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court upon the Report and
Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Jonathan D. Greenberg. The
Report and Recommendation (ECF #15), issued on June 4, 2018
recommends the Commissioner's final decision be VACATED
and the case REMANDED for further proceedings. On June 7,
2018 the Government filed its response to the Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation, indicating it would
not be filing objections. (ECF #16).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
applicable standard of review of a magistrate judge's
report and recommendation depends upon whether objections
were made to the report. Whereas here, no timely objection
was filed, “the court need only satisfy itself that
there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to
accept the recommendation. fed. R. Civ. P. 72 advisory
committee's notes (citation omitted). However, “the
Social Security Act authorizes narrow judicial review of the
final decisions of the Social Security Administration
(SSA).” Reynolds v. Comm'r Soc. Sec., 2011
WL 1228165 at *2 (6th Cir. April 1, 2011). This review is
limited to determining whether the Commissioner's
decision is (1) supported by substantial evidence and (2)
made pursuant to proper legal standards. See Ealy v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 572 F.3d 504, 512 (6th Cir.
2010). The court does not review the evidence de
novo, make credibility determinations, or weigh the
evidence when determining whether an ALJ's findings are
supported by substantial evidence. Brainard v. Sec'y
of Health and Human Servs., 889 F.2d 679, 681 (6th Cir.
raised three objections to Commissioner's final decision
denying Plaintiff Period of Disability (“POD”)
and Disability Insurance Benefits (“DOB”): (1)
that the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) failed
to articulate “good reasons” for discounting the
opinions of her treating physicians, specifically Dr. Nickels
and Dr. Vazquez, (2) that the ALJ's credibility
determination is not supported by substantial evidence, and
(3) that the ALJ erred by failing to address all supported
limitations in his RFC analysis.
Plaintiff's first objection, a treating source opinion
must be given “controlling weight” if such
opinion is (1) “well supported by medically acceptable
clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques” and (2)
“not inconsistent with the other substantial evidence
in [the] case record.” Gayheart v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 710 F.3d 365, 372 (6th Cir. 2013). The ALJ
must provide “good reasons” for discounting the
opinion of a treating source opinion that are
“sufficiently specific to make clear to any subsequent
reviewers the weight the adjudicator gave to the treating
source's medical opinion and the reasons for that
weight” if the ALJ determines that the treating source
opinion is not entitled to controlling weight. Rogers v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 242 (6th Cir.
2007) (quoting SSR 96-2p, 1996 WL 374188 at *5). The Sixth
Circuit has held that an ALJ's failure to articulate
“good reasons” for discounting a treating
physician's opinion “denotes a lack of substantial
evidence, even where the conclusion of the ALJ may be
justified based upon the record.” Rogers, 486
F.3d at 243.
Judge Greenberg determined that the ALJ failed to give
“good reasons” for rejecting both Dr. Nickels and
Dr. Vazquez's opinions as treating physicians. The record
reflects that Dr. Nickel's opinion was capable of showing
that Plaintiff had disabling limitations during the relevant
time period and that it is consistent with the medical
evidence. The ALJ rejected Dr. Vazquez's opinion on the
basis that it was inconsistent with Plaintiff's ability
to manage household chores and tasks. However, the ALJ failed
to reconcile this finding with Plaintiff's own statements
articulating her need for substantial amounts of help to
complete household chores and the medical evidence indicative
of Plaintiff's high levels of pain. Due to the finding
that the ALJ failed to set forth “good reasons”
for rejecting the treating physicians' opinions, a remand
is necessary to allow the ALJ the opportunity to properly
address these opinions.
Judge Greenberg further determined that the Court need not
address Plaintiff's second and third assignments of
error. However, the ALJ should reevaluate Plaintiff's
credibility and the medical evidence relating to
Plaintiff's physical and mental impairments on remand.
Court has carefully reviewed the Report and Recommendation
and agrees with the findings set forth therein. The Report
and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Greenberg (ECF #15) is
ADOPTED. The decision of the Commissioner is VACATED and the
case is ...