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Riggs v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Eastern Division

March 24, 2017

KIMBERLY ANNETTE RIGGS, Plaintiff/Claimant,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, [1]Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER

          JAMES C. FOX Senior United States District Judge

         Before the court are the following:

(1) the parties' cross Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings [DE-16, -19], pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure;
(2) the Memorandum and Recommendation ("M&R") [DE-22] of United States Magistrate Judge Robert B. Jones, Jr.; and
(3) Defendant's Objection [DE-23] to the Magistrate Judge's M&R and Plaintiffs Response [DE-24].

         The issues have been fully briefed, and the matter is now ripe for ruling. For the reasons addressed below, this court ADOPTS the findings and recommendations of the Magistrate Judge, Plaintiffs Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [DE-16] is ALLOWED, Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [DE-19] is DENIED, and this case is REMANDED to the Commissioner for further proceedings.

         I. DISCUSSION

         A. The Magistrate Judge's M&R

         1. Standard of Review

         The 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 the court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). This court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the recommendation to which specific objections are made, and the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the Magistrate Judge's recommendation, or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In the absence of a timely-filed objection, a district 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." Diamond v. Colonial Life & Ace. Ins. Co. , 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005).

         On March 2, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued a M&R, in which he recommended that Plaintiffs Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [DE-16] be ALLOWED, Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [DE-19] be DENIED, and this case be REMANDED to the Commissioner for further proceedings. The Magistrate Judge advised the parties of the procedures and requirements for filing objections to the M&R and the consequences if they failed to do so. On March 16, 2017, Defendant filed an Objection [DE-23] to the Magistrate Judge's M&R. Plaintiff filed a Response [DE-24J on March 23, 2017.

         2. Defendant's Objection

         a. Defendant argues that the Magistrate Judge erred by recommending that the case be remanded.

         Defendant argues that the Magistrate Judge erred by recommending that the case be remanded to allow the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") to explain why he did not credit Plaintiffs allegations that she required the use of her nebulizer[2] every four hours and it takes twenty minutes to recover from each treatment. See Objection [DE-23] at 3-7. Defendant further argues that the Magistrate Judge's conclusion was error because the ALJ gave sufficient reasons for not crediting Plaintiffs allegations. Id. at 3. Finally, Defendant argues that her explanation was not ...


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