United States District Court, D. South Carolina
HONORABLE BRUCE H. HENDRICKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
an action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking
judicial review of the Acting Commissioner of Social
Security's (“Commissioner”) final decision,
which denied Plaintiff Sharon Arnet Jordan's
(“Plaintiff”) claim for supplemental security
income (“SSI”). The record includes the report
and recommendation (“Report”) of United States
Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett, which was made in
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636 (b)(1)(B) and Local
Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(a) (D.S.C.).
Report, the Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court affirm
the Commissioner's final decision denying benefits.
Plaintiff filed objections to the Report, and the
Commissioner filed a reply to those objections. See
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (providing that a party may
object, in writing, to a Magistrate Judge's Report within
14 days after being served a copy). For the reasons stated
below, the Court adopts the Magistrate Judge's Report and
affirms the Commissioner's final decision denying
filed for SSI in April of 2013, alleging disability beginning
on March 18, 2013. Her application was denied initially and
upon reconsideration, and she requested a hearing before an
administrative law judge (“ALJ”). A hearing was
held on June 15, 2016, at which Plaintiff, who was
represented by counsel, appeared and testified. The ALJ also
heard testimony from a vocational expert (“VE”).
The ALJ issued a decision on July 8, 2016, denying
Plaintiff's claim. Plaintiff requested review of the
decision, and on June 30, 2017, the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's
decision the Commissioner's final decision for purposes
of judicial review. Plaintiff filed this action seeking
judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision on
September 1, 2017.
was born in 1970 and was 42 years old on the date her
application was filed. She has a high school education and
past relevant work experience as an inspector and a cashier.
She alleges disability due to a heart attack, high blood
pressure, diabetes, anxiety, high cholesterol, and
The Magistrate Judge's Report
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility for making a final determination remains with
this Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261,
270-71 (1976). The Court conducts a de novo review to those
portions of the Report to which a specific objection is made,
and this Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in
part, the recommendations contained in the Report.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Any
written objection must specifically identify the portion of
the Report to which the objection is made and the basis for
the objection. Id. If a party fails to file any
specific objections, this Court “need not conduct a de
novo review, but instead must only satisfy itself that there
is no clear error on the face of the record in order to
accept the recommendation.” See Diamond v. Colonial
Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th
Cir. 2005) (internal quotation omitted).
Judicial Review of a Final Decision
federal judiciary plays a limited role in the administrative
scheme as established by the Social Security Act. Section
205(g) of the Act provides 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). “Consequently, judicial review
. . . of a final decision regarding disability benefits is
limited to determining whether the findings are supported by
substantial evidence and whether the correct law was
applied.” Walls v. Barnhart, 296 F.3d 287, 290
(4th Cir. 2002). “Substantial evidence” is
evidence which a reasoning mind would accept as sufficient to
support a particular conclusion. It consists of more than a
mere scintilla of evidence but may be somewhat less than a
preponderance. If there is evidence to justify a refusal to
direct a verdict were the case before a jury, then there is
Shively v. Heckler, 739 F.2d 987, 989 (4th Cir.
1984) (quoting Laws v. Celebreeze, 368 F.2d 640, 642
(4th Cir. 1966)). In assessing whether substantial evidence
exists, the reviewing court should not “undertake to
re-weigh conflicting evidence, make credibility
determinations, or substitute [its] judgment for that
of” the agency. Mastro v. Apfel, 270 F.3d 171,
176 (4th Cir. 2001) (alteration in original).