United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION OF REMAND
S. Cayer United States Magistrate Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's
“Motion for Summary Judgment” (document #9) and
Defendant's “Motion for Summary Judgment”
(document #13), as well as the parties' briefs and
case has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), and these Motions
are now ripe for disposition.
fully considered the written arguments, administrative
record, and applicable authority, the undersigned
respectfully recommends that Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment be granted; that Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment be denied; that the
Commissioner's decision be reversed, and this
matter be remanded for further proceedings
consistent with this Memorandum and Recommendation.
Court adopts the procedural history as stated in the
filed the present action on June 1, 2018. He assigns error to
the Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ) failure to give
substantial weight to the Veterans Administration's
(“VA”) disability decision and to the
formulation of his mental Residual Functional Capacity
“Memorandum in Support …” at 5-6, 8-12
(document #10); “Reply …” at 2-4 (document
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 “substantial evidence” in the record
to support the final decision below. Lester v.
Schweiker, 683 F.2d 838, 841 (4th Cir. 1982).