United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
Letha L. Caywood, Plaintiff
Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JEFFREY J. HELMICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
me is the Report and Recommendation (“R & R”)
of Magistrate Judge James R. Knepp, II. (Doc. No. 17). Judge
Knepp recommends I affirm the final decision of Defendant
Commissioner of Social Security denying Plaintiff Letha L.
Caywood's applications for Disability Insurance Benefits
and Supplemental Security Income. (Id.). Caywood
filed objections to Judge Knepp's R & R, (Doc. 18),
and the Commissioner responded, (Doc. No. 19).
district court must conduct a de novo review of
“any part of the magistrate judge's disposition
that has been properly objected to. The district judge may
accept, reject or modify the recommended disposition, receive
further evidence, or return the matter to the magistrate
judge with instructions.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3).
district judge “must affirm the Commissioner's
conclusions absent a determination that the Commissioner has
failed to apply the correct legal standards or has made
findings of fact unsupported by substantial evidence in the
record.” Walters v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
127 F.3d 525, 528 (6th Cir. 1997); see also 42
U.S.C. § 405(g). “Substantial evidence is defined
as ‘such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.'”
Colvin v. Barnhart, 475 F.3d 727, 730 (6th Cir.
2007) (quoting Heston v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
245 F.3d 528, 534 (6th Cir. 2001)). If the Commissioner's
findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence, those
findings are conclusive. McClanahan v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 474 F.3d 830, 833 (6th Cir. 2006).
states two objections to the R & R. First, she asserts
Judge Knepp failed to address whether the ALJ evaluated the
required regulatory factors when determining the amount of
weight to give to “other” source opinions. In
turn, Caywood alleges Judge Knepp erred in concluding the ALJ
properly gave “great weight” to the opinion of
the State agency psychological and medical consultants.
no “treating source” medical opinion was given
controlling weight in this case, the ALJ was required to
weigh several factors when determining the weight to assign
both medical opinions and opinions from “not acceptable
medical sources.” 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1527(c)
factors include: the examining relationship, the treatment
relationship, supportability of the opinion, the consistency
of the opinion with the record as a whole, and the
specialization of the opinion's author. See 20
C.F.R. § 404.1527(c). With respect to “not
acceptable medical source” opinions, though “not
every factor for weighing opinion evidence will apply in
every case, ” the ALJ
generally should explain the weight given to opinions from
these sources or otherwise ensure that the discussion of the
evidence in the determination or decision allows a claimant
or subsequent reviewer to follow the adjudicator's
reasoning, when such opinions may have an effect on the
outcome of the case.
20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(f); see also Cruse v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 502 F.3d 532, 541 (6th Cir.
2007) (citing SSR 06-03p, 2006 WL 2329939 (S.S.A.)).
case, there is no dispute that Certified Nurse Specialist
(“CNS”) David Bingham and Counselor Marsha Manon
are “not acceptable medical sources.” (Doc. No.
18 at 2). As to the opinions of CNS Bingham and Counselor
Manon, the ALJ stated only:
In a February 2016 statement, Marsha E. Manon stated the
claimant is unable to work (Exhibit 24F/1). She also said the
claimant is unable to function in any position that would
exert any further stress on her emotionally (Exhibit 24F/2).
She also opined the claimant should not have contact with
people with whom she is unfamiliar and should avoid workplace
stress (Id.). The undersigned gives this statement
partial weight because whether a claimant can work is a
matter reserved for the Commissioner. Additionally, she has
suggested she is ...