United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
SAMUEL SANSOM, on behalf of Mary Ann Sansom, deceased, Plaintiff,
COMMISIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY Defendant.
POLSTER CHAPPELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on consideration of United
States Magistrate Mac R. McCoy's Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”). (Doc. 20). Judge
McCoy recommends affirming the Commissioner of Social
Security's decision to deny Plaintiff Samuel Sansom on
behalf of Mary Ann Sansom (“Mary”) (together
referred to as “Claimants”) disability insurance
benefits and supplemental security income. Claimants have
timely filed objections to the R&R. (Doc. 21). The
Commissioner filed a response. (Doc. 22). This matter is thus
ripe for review.
Court adopts the factual background as detailed in the
R&R, but will briefly outline the procedural background.
Eight years ago, Claimants filed an application for a period
of disability and disability insurance benefits for
Mary's alleged affective disorder. (Doc. 20 at 2). After
a hearing, Administrative Law Judge M. Dwight Evans (the
“ALJ”) found she was not disabled and denied her
application. (Doc. 12-2 at 20). The Appeals Council then
denied Claimant's request for review, making the
Commissioner's decision final. (Doc. 12-2 at 1). This
district court's review of the Commissioner's
decision is limited to evaluating whether substantial
evidence supports the decision and whether the ALJ applied
the proper legal principles. See James v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 657 Fed.Appx. 835, 837 (11th
Cir. 2016). This review is de novo. Moore v.
Barnhart, 405 F.3d 1208, 1211 (11th Cir. 2005).
Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla but less than a
preponderance, “and is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable person would accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Crawford v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 363 F.3d 1155, 1158 (11th Cir. 2004) (quotations
omitted). Even if the evidence preponderates against the
Commissioner's findings, the court must affirm if
substantial evidence supports the decision reached.
Id. at 1158-59. The court may not reweigh the
evidence and decide the fact anew. See Dyer v.
Barnhart, 395 F.3d 1206, 1210 (11th Cir. 2005); see
also James, 657 Fed.Appx. at 837. The
magistrate judge, district judge, and appellate judges apply
the same legal standards to review the Commissioner's
decision. Dyer, 395 F.3d at 1210.
addition, a district judge “may accept, reject, or
modify in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations
made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1). The district judge “shall make a de
novo determination of those portions of the report or
specified proposed findings or recommendations to which
objection is made.” Id. And “[t]he judge
may also receive further evidence or recommit the matter to
the magistrate judge with instructions.” Id.
R&R recommends affirming the ALJ's decision.
Claimant's objections assert the ALJ erred because he (1)
prejudiced Claimants because he did not allow their counsel
to sufficiently cross-examine the vocational expert regarding
how he arrived at his job numbers and reasoning level
determinations; (2) failed to consider and weigh the opinion
of Mary's psychiatrist Dr. Rieche; (3) excluded
limitations in the residual functional capacity about
Mary's moderate difficulty getting along with coworkers
and peers; and (4) excluded evidence of Mary's
sensitivity to noise. (Doc. 21). Claimant's objections,
aside from one minor point regarding Dr. Rieche, merely
rehash arguments already presented to and considered by Judge
McCoy. As to those objections, the Court agrees with Judge
McCoy's assessment and will adopt the R and R
lone new argument is that Judge McCoy erred because he found
no evidence of medical records from Dr. Rieche in the
transcript. Upon review, records from Dr. Rieche
were included in the transcript. (Doc. 12-9 at
384-86; Doc. 12-10 at 414-30). Still, the substantial
evidence supports Judge McCoy's finding that Dr.
Rieche's opinions were not supported by the medical
record as a whole. (Doc. 20 at 19).
on a de novo review of the record and independent
consideration of the parties' arguments and the
controlling law, the Court agrees with the R&R's
findings and recommendations over Plaintiff's objections.
The Commissioner's decision is therefore affirmed.
it is now
(1) United States Magistrate Judge Mac McCoy's Report and
Recommendation (Doc. 20) is ACCEPTED AND
ADOPTED and the findings incorporated herein.
(2) The Commissioner of Social Security's decision is
(3) Plaintiff Samuel Sansom's objection to the Report and
Recommendation (Doc. 21) are OVERRULED.
(4) The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to
terminate all pending motions and deadlines, enter judgment