United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. GOODWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
action was referred to the Honorable Omar J. Aboulhosn,
United States Magistrate Judge, for submission to this court
of proposed findings of fact and recommendation for
disposition, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). The
Magistrate Judge has submitted findings of fact and
recommended that the court deny the plaintiff's motion
for judgment on the pleadings, grant the defendant's
motion for judgment on the pleadings, affirm the final
decision of the Commissioner, and dismiss this action from
the court's docket. Proposed Findings & Rec.
(“PF&R”) [ECF No. 14].
October 20, 2017, the plaintiff filed timely objections to
the Magistrate Judge's findings and recommendation.
Pl.'s Obj. to PF&R [ECF No. 15]. The defendant did
not respond. The court has reviewed de novo those
portions of the Magistrate Judge's findings and
recommendation to which the plaintiff objects and finds that
the objections lack merit. For the reasons herein, the court
ADOPTS and incorporates herein the findings
and recommendation of the Magistrate Judge. The court
DENIES the plaintiff's motion for
judgment on the pleadings [ECF No. 12],
GRANTS the defendant's motion for
judgment on the pleadings [ECF No. 13],
AFFIRMS the final decision of the
Commissioner, and DISMISSES this action from
the court's docket.
Statement of Facts
de novo review of those portions of the Magistrate
Judge's PF&R to which objections were filed, the
court ADOPTS the statement of relevant facts
and procedural history set forth in the report.
Standard of Review
district court “shall make a de novo
determination of those portions of the report or specified
proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is
made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). This court is
not, however, required to review, under a de novo or
any other standard, the factual or legal conclusions of the
magistrate judge as to those portions of the findings or
recommendation to which no objections are addressed.
Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985). In
addition, this court need not conduct a de novo
review when a party “makes general and conclusory
objections that do not direct the Court to a specific error
in the magistrate's proposed findings and
recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d
44, 47 (4th Cir.1982).
Social Security Act states that “[t]he findings of the
Commissioner of Social Security as to any fact, if supported
by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive.” 42
U.S.C. § 405(g). The Supreme Court has defined
substantial evidence as “such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S.
389, 401 (1971) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v.
NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)). Further, “[i]t
consists of more than a mere scintilla of evidence but may be
somewhat less than a preponderance.” Laws v.
Celebrezze, 368 F.2d 640, 642 (4th Cir. 1966).
reviewing the case for substantial evidence, the court does
not re-weigh conflicting evidence, make determinations as to
credibility, or substitute its own judgment for that of the
Commissioner. Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d 1453, 1456
(4th Cir. 1990). Rather, the court must adopt the
Commissioner's findings if there is evidence in support
of such findings “to justify a refusal to direct a
verdict were the case before a jury.” Blalock v.
Richardson, 483 F.2d 773, 776 (4th Cir. 1972).
“Where conflicting evidence allows reasonable minds to
differ as to whether a claimant is disabled, the
responsibility for that decision falls on the [Commissioner]
(or the [Commissioner's] designate, the [Administrative
Law Judge, ] ALJ).” Walker v. Bowen, 834 F.2d
635, 640 (7th Cir. 1987). Thus, even if the court would have
reached a different decision, it must nonetheless defer to
the conclusions of the ALJ if such conclusions are bolstered
by substantial evidence and were reached through a correct
application of relevant law. See Coffman v. Bowen,
829 F.2d 514, 517 (4th Cir. 1987).
plaintiff makes three objections to the Magistrate
Judge's PF&R. First, she objects to his finding that
the ALJ fairly assessed the opinions of the plaintiff's
treating physician, Mohammed K. Hasan, M.D. Second, she
objects to the Magistrate Judge's findings regarding the
Residual Function Capacity (“RFC”) Assessment.
Finally, she objects to the Magistrate Judge's
recommendation for disposition. I will consider each
Weight Given to Treating Physician, Mohammad K. Hasan,
the plaintiff object to the Magistrate Judge's finding
that the ALJ fairly assessed the opinions of the
plaintiff's treating physician, Mohammed K. Hasan, M.D.
The ALJ gave “little weight” to Dr. Hasan's
opinions as referenced in the two medical assessments
provided in February and April 2014. Tr. at 18-19 [ECF No.
10-2 at 19- 20]. The ALJ justified giving Dr. Hasan's
opinions little weight by explaining that “Dr. Hasan
did not support his opinion with an explanation, and his
opinion is not supported by the record, which showed that the