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
#12) and Defendant's “Motion for Summary
Judgment” (document #14), as well as the parties'
briefs and exhibits.
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
Court adopts the procedural history as stated in the
filed the present action on April 19, 2017. He assigns error
to the Appeals Council's decision not to remand this
matter to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) following
receipt of the March 23, 2016 MRI of his lumbar spine.
See Plaintiff's “Memorandum ...” at
5-11 (document #13). Plaintiff contends that if the ALJ had
considered the MRI, she would have limited him to a sedentary
rather than light Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”),  and found him to be disabled.
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:
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
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