United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Cheryl M. Turner, Plaintiff,
Nancy Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
C. Coggins, Jr., United States District Judge.
proceeding pro se, has brought this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking judicial review of the final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”) denying her claim for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”). In accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 (D.S.C.),
this matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge
for pre-trial handling. On March 21, 2019, Magistrate Judge
Paige J. Gossett issued a Report and Recommendation
(“Report”), recommending that the decision of the
Commissioner be affirmed. ECF No. 25. On April 3, 2019,
Plaintiff filed Objections to the Report, and the
Commissioner filed a Reply on April 12, 2019. ECF Nos. 27,
28. For the reasons stated below, the Court adopts the Report
and incorporates it herein by reference.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility to make a final determination remains with
this Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261,
270–71 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de
novo determination of only those portions of the Report that
have been specifically objected to, and the Court may accept,
reject, or modify the Report, in whole or in part. 28 U.S.C.
role of the federal judiciary in the administrative scheme
established by the Social Security Act (“the
Act”) is a limited one. Section 205(g) of the Act
provides, “[t]he findings of the Secretary as to any
fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be
conclusive . . . .” 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
“Substantial evidence has been defined innumerable
times as more than a scintilla, but less than
preponderance.” Thomas v. Celebreeze, 331 F.2d
541, 543 (4th Cir. 1964). This standard precludes a de novo
review of the factual circumstances that substitutes the
court’s findings for those of the Commissioner.
Vitek v. Finch, 438 F.2d 1157 (4th Cir. 1971). The
court must uphold the Commissioner’s decision as long
as it was supported by substantial evidence and reached
through the application of the correct legal standard.
Johnson v. Barnhart, 434 F.3d 650 (4th Cir. 2005).
“From this it does not follow, however, that the
findings of the administrative agency are to be mechanically
accepted. The statutorily granted right of review
contemplates more than an uncritical rubber stamping of the
administrative action.” Flack v. Cohen, 413
F.2d 278, 279 (4th Cir. 1969). “[T]he courts must not
abdicate their responsibility to give careful scrutiny to the
whole record to assure that there is a sound foundation for
the [Commissioner’s] findings, and that his conclusion
is rational.” Vitek, 438 F.2d at
applied for DIB in March 2014, alleging that she had been
disabled since September 24, 2012, due to asthma, diabetes,
high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, arthritis, congestive
heart failure, acid reflux, and obesity. Plaintiff's
claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration.
Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law
Judge ("ALJ"), which was held on November 17,
2016. The ALJ denied Plaintiff's claims in a
decision issued on February 27, 2017. The Appeals Council
denied Plaintiff's request for a review, making the
determination of the ALJ the final decision of the
Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court affirm the
Commissioner’s decision because it is supported by
substantial evidence and the proper legal standards were
applied. Plaintiff objects to the Report, generally claiming
that the Magistrate erred in recommending that the ALJ's
opinion be affirmed. Plaintiff references additional medical
documentation related to her alleged disabilities, as
well as new medical problems not addressed in the underlying
Plaintiff did not file specific objections to any of the
Report's recommendations, the Court has reviewed the
record, the Report, and the applicable law de novo out of an
abundance of caution. The Court concludes that the ALJ's
opinion is supported by substantial evidence and does not
contain any errors of law. The Report thoroughly addresses
the relevant issues, and the Court adopts and incorporates
the Report by reference herein.
reasons set forth above, the Court ADOPTS
the Report and AFFIRMS the decision of the