United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Jeffrey J. Helmick United States District Judge
me is the Report and Recommendation (“R & R”)
of Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Parker. (Doc. No. 16). Judge
Parker recommends I affirm the final decision of Defendant
Commissioner of Social Security denying Plaintiff Alex
Martin's applications for Disability Insurance Benefits
and Supplemental Security Income. (Id.). Martin
filed objections to the R & R, (Doc. No. 17), and the
Commissioner filed a response, (Doc. No. 18).
reviewing the R & R, and hearing no objection to these
sections by Martin, I hereby incorporate and adopt, in full,
the “Procedural History” and
“Evidence” sections set forth in the R & R.
(Doc. No. 16 at 1-21).
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).
objects to the R & R on two grounds. First, he contends
Judge Parker erred in finding the ALJ properly evaluated the
weight given to certain medical opinions. Second, Martin
disputes Judge Parker's finding that the ALJ properly
evaluated Martin's subjective symptoms.
Treating Physician Rule
assessing a claim, the ALJ must evaluate every medical
opinion received. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1527(c),
416.927(c). “Medical opinions are statements from
acceptable medical sources that reflect judgments about the
nature and severity of [the claimant's] impairment(s),
including [their] symptoms, diagnosis and prognosis, what
[they] can still do despite impairment(s), and [their]
physical or mental restrictions.” 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1527(a)(1), 416.927(a)(1).
treating source medical opinion is given controlling weight
unless it is not “well-supported by medically
acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic
techniques” or is “inconsistent with the other
substantial evidence in [the] case record.” 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1527(c)(2), 416.927(c)(2). “If the ALJ
does not accord controlling weight to a treating physician,
the ALJ must still determine how much weight is appropriate
by considering a number of factors, including the length of
the treatment relationship and the frequency of examination,
the nature and extent of the treatment relationship,
supportability of the opinion, consistency of the opinion
with the record as a whole, and any specialization of the
treating physician.” Blakely v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 581 F.3d 399, 406 (6th Cir. 2009); see
also 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1527(c)(2)-(6),
416.927(c)(2)-(6). “The ALJ need not perform an
exhaustive, step-by-step analysis of each factor; she need
only provide ‘good reasons' for both her decision
not to afford the physician's opinion controlling weight
and for her ultimate weighing of the opinion.”
Biestek v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 880 F.3d 778,
785 (6th Cir. 2017); see also 20 C.F.R. §§
“good reasons” “requirement is not simply a
formality; it is to safeguard the claimant's procedural
rights.” Cole v Astrue, 661 F.3d 931, 937 (6th
Cir. 2011). “[A]n ALJ's ‘failure to follow
the procedural requirement of identifying the reasons for
discounting the opinions and for explaining precisely how
those reasons affected the weight' given
‘denotes a lack of substantial evidence, even
where the conclusion of the ALJ may be justified based upon