United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
S. CAYER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's
“Motion for Summary Judgment” (document #14) and
Defendant's “Motion for Summary Judgment”
(document #16), as well as the parties' briefs and
parties have consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and these Motions are
ripe for disposition.
considered the written arguments, administrative record, and
applicable authority, the Court finds that Defendant's
decision to deny Plaintiff Social Security benefits is
supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, the Court
will deny Plaintiff's Motion for Summary
Judgment; grant Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment; and affirm the Commissioner's
procedural history is not in dispute. The Court adopts the
procedural history as stated in the parties' briefs.
filed the present action on January 16, 2017. She assigns
error to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)'s formulation
of her mental Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). See Plaintiff's
“Memorandum ...” at 3-11 (document #14-1).
Specifically, Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred in finding
moderate impairments in her mental and social functioning,
rather than “marked” impairments as opined by Dr.
Mary H. Berg, the consultative psychological expert.
Plaintiff also contends that the ALJ failed to account for
her moderate difficulty in concentration, persistence or pace
in his formulation of her RFC.
parties' cross-Motions are ripe for disposition.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and §
1383(c)(3), limits this Court's review of a final
decision of the Commissioner to: (1) whether substantial
evidence supports the Commissioner's decision,
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 390, 401
(1971); and (2) whether the Commissioner applied the correct
legal standards. Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d 1453,
1456 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Hunter v. Sullivan,
993 F.2d 31, 34 (4th Cir. 1992) (per curiam). The
District Court does not review a final decision of the
Commissioner de novo. Smith v. Schweiker,
795 F.2d 343, 345 (4th Cir. 1986); King v. Califano,
599 F.2d 597, 599 (4th Cir. 1979); Blalock v.
Richardson, 483 F.2d 773, 775 (4th Cir. 1972).
Social Security Act provides, “[t]he findings of the
[Commissioner] as to any fact, if supported by substantial
evidence, shall be conclusive.” 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). In Smith v. Heckler, 782 F.2d 1176, 1179
(4th Cir. 1986), quoting Richardson v. Perales, 402
U.S. 389, 401 (1971), the Fourth Circuit defined
“substantial evidence” thus:
Substantial evidence has been defined as being “more
than a scintilla and do[ing] more than creat[ing] a suspicion
of the existence of a fact to be established. It means such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.”
See also Seacrist v. Weinberger, 538 F.2d 1054,
1056-57 (4th Cir. 1976) (“We note that it is the
responsibility of the [Commissioner] and not the courts to
reconcile inconsistencies in the medical evidence”).
Fourth Circuit has long emphasized that it is not for a
reviewing court to weigh the evidence again, nor to
substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner,
assuming the Commissioner's final decision is supported
by substantial evidence. Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d
at 1456 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Smith v.
Schweiker, 795 F.2d at 345; and Blalock v.
Richardson, 483 F.2d at 775. Indeed, this is true even
if the reviewing court disagrees with the outcome - so long
as there is ...