United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING AND ADOPTING
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
FREDERICK P. STAMP, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff, Jamie Strube, by counsel, seeks judicial review of
the above-named defendant's decision to deny her claims
for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under
Title II of the Social Security Act and Supplemental Security
Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social
plaintiff applied for DIB and SSI in November 2014, alleging
disability beginning August 1, 2013. Her claim was denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. The plaintiff then
filed a written request for a hearing, and a hearing was held
before the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) in
Morgantown, West Virginia. The plaintiff, represented by
counsel, and an impartial vocational expert appeared at the
hearing. The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision to the
plaintiff, and the plaintiff appealed. The Appeals Council
denied the plaintiff's request for review, and the
plaintiff timely brought her claim before this Court to
obtain judicial review of the Commissioner's final
decision pursuant to Section 205(g) of the Social Security
Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). ECF No. 1. The
Commissioner, through counsel Helen Campbell Altmeyer,
Assistant United States Attorney, filed his answer and the
administrative record of the proceedings on December 6, 2018.
ECF No. 7. The plaintiff and the defendant both filed motions
for summary judgment with supporting briefs. ECF Nos. 17 and
plaintiff argues that the ALJ committed two errors in his
decision. Specifically, the plaintiff contends that the ALJ
“erroneously evaluated the Plaintiff's subjective
complaints” and “erroneously assessed the
Plaintiff's residual functional capacity.” ECF No.
18 at 5, 9. Based on these alleged errors, plaintiff claims
“the final administrative decision of the Commissioner
fails to be supported by substantial evidence, is erroneous
as a matter of law, and must be reversed.” Id.
Commissioner argues that the ALJ's decision and findings
as to plaintiff's subjective complaints and residual
function capacity are supported by substantial evidence, and
thus requests this Court to grant the motion for summary
judgment and affirm the ALJ's decision. ECF No. 20 at 7,
States Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble then entered his
report and recommendation, to which neither party filed
objections. ECF No. 22. The magistrate judge found that the
Commissioner's decision denying plaintiff's claim for
DIB and SSI is supported by substantial evidence and
recommends that plaintiff's motion for summary judgment
(ECF No. 17) be denied, defendant's motion for summary
judgment (ECF No. 20) be granted, and the Commissioner's
decision be affirmed and this civil action be dismissed with
prejudice ECF No. 22 at 17.
reasons discussed below, the report and recommendation of the
magistrate judge is AFFIRMED and ADOPTED in its entirety.
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C), this Court must conduct a
de novo review of any portion of the magistrate
judge's recommendation to which objection is timely made.
As to those portions of a recommendation to which no
objection is made, a magistrate judge's findings and
recommendation will be upheld unless they are clearly
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has
held: “Under the Social Security Act, [a reviewing
court] must uphold the factual findings of the Secretary if
they are supported by substantial evidence and were reached
through application of the correct legal standard.”
Craig v. Chater, 76 F.3d 585, 589 (4th Cir. 1996).
“Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Id. A reviewing court “does
not reweigh evidence or make credibility determinations in
evaluating whether a decision is supported by substantial
evidence; ‘[w]here conflicting evidence allows
reasonable minds to differ,' we defer to the
Commissioner's decision.” Thompson v.
Astrue, 442 Fed.Appx. 804, 805 (4th Cir. 2011) (quoting
Johnson v. Barnhart, 434 F.3d 650, 653 (4th Cir.
2005)). Further, as the Supreme Court of the United States
stated in United States v. United States Gypsum Co.,
“a finding is ‘clearly erroneous' when
although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court
on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm
conviction that a mistake has been committed.” 333 U.S.
reviewing the record and the parties' filings, this Court
finds that because the parties did not file any objections to
the report and recommendation, the magistrate judge's
findings and recommendations will be upheld unless they are
“clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(A). After reviewing the record before this
Court, no clearly erroneous findings exist concerning the
magistrate judge's report and recommendation.
making his recommendations, the magistrate judge first
correctly found that the ALJ's credibility assessment of
plaintiff is supported by substantial evidence. ECF No. 22 at
8. Next, the magistrate judge correctly found that the
ALJ's determination of plaintiff's residual
functional capacity does not frustrate meaningful review
because the record is adequate and it substantially supports
the ALJ's RFC determination. Id. at 14. Lastly,
the magistrate judge correctly found that the