United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia, Martinsburg
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
M. GROH, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
day, the above-styled matter came before this Court for
consideration of the Report and Recommendation
("R&R") of United States Magistrate Judge
Robert W. Trumble [ECF No. 24], entered on February 8, 2018.
In his R&R Magistarate Judge Trumble recommends that the
Court grant the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
[ECF No. 15] because the Administrative Law Judge's
decision to deny the Plaintiff's claim for disability
insurance benefits is supported by substantial evidence.
Magistrate Judge Trumble further recommends that the Court
deny the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgement. ECF
Lillian Scheuvront ("Plaintiff") filed an
application for disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income on April 8, 2014. The
application was initially denied on July 25, 2014, and again
upon reconsideration on October 15, 2014. The Plaintiff then
requested a hearing, which was held before an Administrative
Law Judge ("ALJ") on June 29, 2016. The ALJ
determined that the Plaintiff was not disabled. The Appeals
Council denied the Plaintiffs request for review on June 20,
2017, and the Plaintiff timely filed her complaint in this
Court on July 19, 2017. On October 12, 2017, the Plaintiff
filed her motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 12. The
Commissioner filed her motion for summary judgement on
November 13, 2017. ECF No. 15. Thereafter, the Plaintiff
filed a response to the Commissioner's motion for summary
judgment on November 21, 2017. ECF No. 17. Having reviewed
the parties' briefs, Magistrate Judge Trumble entered his
R&R on February 8, 2018. ECF No. 21.
Standards of Review
Review of the R&R
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C), this Court is required to
make a de novo review of those portions of the
R&R to which objection is made. However, failure to file
objections permits the district court to review the R&R
under the standard that it believes to be appropriate, and if
parties do not object to an issue, the parties' right to
de novo review is waived. See Webb v.
Califano, 468 F.Supp. 825 (E.D. Cal. 1979).
Additionally, if the Plaintiff's objections simply
"reiterate the same arguments made by the objecting
party in [her] original papers submitted to the magistrate
judge ... the Court subjects that portion of the
report-recommendation challenged by those arguments to only a
clear error review." Taylor v. Astrue, 32
F.Supp.3d 253, 260 (N.D.N.Y. 2012). Therefore, the Court will
conduct a de novo review of those portions of the
R&R to which a party makes new objections and will review
the remaining portions of the R&R for clear error.
Review of the ALJ's Decision
Social Security Act limits this Court's review of a final
decision of the Commissioner to: (1) whether substantial
evidence supports the Commissioner's decision,
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 390 (1971), and
(2) whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal
standards, Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d 1453, 1456
(4th Cir. 1990). The phrase "supported by substantial
evidence" means "more than a mere scintilla"
and "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion." See
Perales, 402 U.S. at 401 (citing Consol. Edison Co.
v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)).
reviewing court must not re-weigh the evidence or substitute
its judgment for that of the Commissioner, so long as that
decision is supported by substantial evidence. Hays,
907 F.2d at 1456. Ultimately, it is the duty of the ALJ
reviewing a case, not the responsibility of the Court, to
make findings of fact and to resolve conflicts in the
evidence. King v. Califano, 599 F.2d 597, 599 (4th
Cir. 1979) ("This Court does not find facts or try the
case de novo when reviewing disability
determinations."); see also Seacrist v.
Weinberger, 538 F.2d 1054, 1056-57 (4th Cir. 1976)
("We note that it is the responsibility of the
[Commissioner] and not the courts to reconcile
inconsistencies in the medical evidence, and that it is the
claimant who bears the risk of nonpersuasion.").
determine whether a claimant is disabled, the ALJ conducts a
five-step evaluation process. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)(4). If the ALJ finds the claimant is not disabled
at a certain step, the ALJ does not proceed to the next step,
one, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant is engaging
in substantial gainful activity. Next, the ALJ determines
whether the claimant has a severe impairment. Then, the ALJ
determines whether the claimant has a listed impairment (20
C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1) and conducts a
Residual Functional Capacity ("RFC") assessment. At
step four, the ALJ considers the RFC assessment to determine
whether the claimant can perform past relevant work. Finally,
at step five the ALJ considers the RFC assessment, age,
education, and work experience to determine whether the
claimant can perform any other work. See Davidson v.
Astrue, Civil Action No. 2:11-CV-55, 2012 WL 667296, at
*3 (N.D. W.Va. Feb. 28, 2012) (citing 20 C.F.R. §
under the five-step process, the ALJ found the Plaintiff was
not disabled because she is capable of performing jobs in the