United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
HONORABLE SARA LIOI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate
Judge Kathleen B. Burke (Doc. No. 19 [“R&R”])
with respect to plaintiff's complaint for judicial review
of defendant's denial of her applications for
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) and
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”). Plaintiff
Jessica Webb (“Webb”) filed objections to the
R&R (Doc. No. 20 [“Obj.”]) and defendant
filed a response to the objections (Doc. No. 21
[“Resp.”]). Upon de novo review and for the
reasons set forth below, the Court hereby overrules
plaintiff's objections, accepts the R&R, and
dismisses this case.
protectively filed applications for SSI and DIB on January
17, 2016, alleging a disability onset date of February 28,
2015, based on severe anxiety, alcoholism/addiction, panic
attacks, fear of public/isolation, shaking most of the day
and night, insomnia, lightning jolts in her body, fear of
phones ringing, depression, and rapid speech/stuttering/mind
blanking out. (Doc. No. 12 (Transcript [“Tr.”])
at 92, 157.)
Webb's applications were denied initially (id.
at 276-79; 280-83) and upon reconsideration (id. at
286-88; 289-90), she requested a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) (id. at
294-95). The hearing was conducted on December 8, 2017. Webb
appeared and was represented by counsel; a vocational expert
(“VA”) also appeared. The hearing transcript is
in the record. (Id. at 112-54.) On April 9, 2018,
the ALJ issued his decision, determining that Webb was not
disabled under the Social Security Act (the
“Act”). (Id. at 89-105.) Webb requested
review of the ALJ's decision by the Appeals Council,
which denied her request on November 13, 2018, rendering the
ALJ's decision final. (Id. at 76-78.)
timely filed the instant action seeking judicial review.
Represented by counsel, Webb filed a brief on the merits
(Doc. No. 14 [“Pl. Br.”]), defendant filed a
response brief on the merits (Doc. No. 17 [“Def.
Br.”]), and Webb filed a reply (Doc. No. 18
October 21, 2019, Magistrate Judge Burke issued her R&R,
recommending that defendant's decision be affirmed
because substantial evidence supported the ALJ's finding
of no disability.
Standard of Review
Court's review of the Magistrate Judge's R&R is
governed by 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), which requires a de
novo decision as to those portions of the R&R to
which objection is made. “An ‘objection' that
does nothing more than state a disagreement with a
magistrate's suggested resolution, or simply summarizes
what has been presented before, is not an
‘objection' as that term is used in this
context.” Aldrich v. Bock, 327 F.Supp.2d 743,
747 (E.D. Mich. 2004); see also Fed. R. Civ. P.
72(b)(3) (“[t]he district judge must determine de novo
any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has
been properly objected to”); Local Rule 72.3(b) (any
objecting party shall file “written objections which
shall specifically identify the portions of the proposed
findings, recommendations, or report to which objection is
made and the basis for such objections”).
review is limited to a determination of whether the ALJ
applied the correct legal standards and whether there is
“substantial evidence” in the record as a whole
to support the decision. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g);
Longworth v. Comm'r Soc. Sec. Admin., 402 F.3d
591, 595 (6th Cir. 2005). “Substantial evidence is
defined as ‘more than a scintilla of evidence but less
than a preponderance; it is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.'” Rogers v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Cutlip v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 25
F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir. 1994)). If there is substantial
evidence to support the defendant's decision, it must be
affirmed even if the reviewing court might have resolved any
issues of fact differently and even if the record could also
support a decision in plaintiff's favor. Crisp v.
Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 790 F.2d 450,
453 n.4 (6th Cir. 1986); Buxton v. Halter, 246 F.3d
762, 772 (6th Cir. 2001) (“The findings of the
Commissioner are not subject to reversal merely because there
exists in the record substantial evidence to support a
different conclusion.”) (citations omitted).
Objection 1 - Failure to Support Weight Given Treating
first objection relates to the R&R's analysis of the
weight given to various physicians by the ALJ.
opinions must be given ‘controlling weight' if two
conditions are met: (1) the opinion is well-supported by
medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic
techniques; and (2) the opinion is not inconsistent with the
other substantial evidence in [the] case record.”
Gayheart v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 710 F.3d 365,
376 (6th Cir. 2013) (internal quotes and citation omitted).
In addition, the physician must have had an “ongoing
relationship” with the claimant ...