United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
CARLOS S. MILLER, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
J. Conrad, Jr. United States District Judge.
MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff's
Motion for Summary Judgment and Supporting Memorandum, (Doc.
Nos. 11, 12); Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and
Supporting Memorandum (Doc. Nos. 13, 14); and the Magistrate
Judge's Memorandum and Recommendation
(“M&R”), (Doc. No. 15), recommending that
this Court grant Plaintiff's Motion, deny Defendant's
Motion, reverse the Administrative Law Judge's
(“ALJ”) decision, and remand for a new hearing.
The parties have not filed objections to the M&R, and the
time for doing so has expired. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2).
party has objected to the Magistrate Judge's statement of
the factual and procedural background of this case.
Therefore, the Court adopts the facts as set forth in the
STANDARD OF REVIEW
district court may assign dispositive pretrial matters,
including motions to dismiss, to a magistrate judge for
“proposed findings of fact and recommendations.”
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) & (B). The Federal
Magistrate Act provides that a district court “shall
make a de novo determination of those portions of the report
or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which
objection is made.” Id. § 636(b)(1)(C);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). However, “when objections to
strictly legal issues are raised and no factual issues are
challenged, de novo review of the record may be dispensed
with.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47
(4th Cir. 1982). De novo review is also not required
“when a party makes general or conclusory objections
that do not direct the court to a specific error in the
magistrate judge's proposed findings and
recommendations.” Id. Similarly, when no
objection is filed, “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 & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315
(4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72, advisory committee
Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
district court judge shall make a de novo determination of
any portion of an M&R to which specific written objection
has been made. A party's failure to make timely objection
is accepted as an agreement with the conclusions of the
Magistrate Judge. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140,
149-50 (1985). No objection to the M&R having been filed,
and the time for doing so having passed, the parties have
waived their right to de novo review of any issue covered in
the Social Security Act provides that the “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). Judicial review
of the Commissioner's 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). The
reviewing court should not “undertake to re-weigh
conflicting evidence, make credibility determinations, or
substitute [its] judgment for that of the Secretary.”
Mastro v. Apfel, 270 F.3d 171, 176 (4th Cir. 2001)
(quoting Craig v. Chater, 76 F.3d 585, 589 (4th Cir.
Court has conducted a full and careful review of the M&R
and other documents of record and, having done so, finds that
the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge is, in all
respects, in accordance with the law and should be approved.
Accordingly, the Court ADOPTS the
recommendation of the Magistrate Judge as its own.
IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that:
1. The Magistrate Judge's M&R, (Doc. No. 15), is
2. Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No.
11), is GRANTED. The Commissioner's decision is REVERSED
and the matter is REMANDED for further administrative
proceedings. Upon remand, the ALJ shall hold a new hearing;
take any action needed to complete the administrative record;
obtain further vocational expert testimony if necessary; and
issue a new decision. The ALJ is directed to evaluate and
explain what weight is afforded to all opinions found in the
record; evaluate anew Plaintiff's impairments in
accordance with Social Security regulations; reevaluate
whether Plaintiff's impairments meet a Listing; further