United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
D. Whitney, Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 12) and Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 16). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636 (b)(1)(B), these motions were referred to the Magistrate
Judge David Cayer for issuance of a Memorandum and
Recommendation (“M & R”) for disposition
(Doc. No. 19). The M & R respectfully recommends
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment be denied,
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment be granted, and
the Commissioner's decision be affirmed. After Plaintiff
filed objections to the M & R (Doc. No. 20) and Defendant
rested on the memorandum previously filed with this Court
(Doc. Nos. 17, 21), this matter is now ripe for review.
reasons set forth, the Court OVERRULES Plaintiff's
objections (Doc. No. 20), ACCEPTS and ADOPTS the M & R
(Doc. No. 19), DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. No. 12), GRANTS Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 16), and AFFIRMS the
does not lodge any specific objections to the procedural
history and factual background or standard of review. Having
conducted a careful review of these portions of the M &
R, the Court finds the M & R's treatment thereof is
correct and supported by the record. See Diamond v.
Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315
(4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee
note) (holding when there is no 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”). Thus, the portions of the M & R
titled “Procedural History” and “Standard
of Review” are adopted and incorporated by reference as
if fully set forth herein. (Doc. No. 19, p. 1-4). Because the
procedural posture before this Court is different than that
of the magistrate judge, the Court provides a short review of
the applicable legal authority for reviewing an M & R.
Standard of Review
Review of the Commissioner's Determination
to the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and
§ 1383(c)(3), this Court's review of a final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security is limited
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, 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g); Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d 1453, 1456
(4th Cir. 1990); Rhyne v. Astrue, 3:09-cv-412-
FDW-DSC, 2011 WL 1239800, at *2 (W.D. N.C. Mar. 30, 2011).
Furthermore, “it is not within the province of a
reviewing court to determine the weight of evidence, nor is
it the court's function to substitute its judgment for
that of the Secretary if his decision is supported by
substantial evidence.” Hays, 907 F.2d at 1456;
see also Rhyne, 2011 WL 1239800 at *2.
evidence is “more than a scintilla and [it] must do
more than create a suspicion of the existence of a fact to be
established. It means such relevant evidence that a
reasonable mind would accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Smith v. Heckler, 782 F.2d 1176,
1179 (4th Cir.1986) (alteration in original) (quoting
Richardson, 402 U.S. at 401). Thus, if this Court
finds the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards
and his decision is supported by substantial evidence, the
Commissioner's determination may not be capriciously
Review of the Memorandum and Recommendation
case, the M & R recommended: (1) Plaintiff's Motion
for Summary Judgment be denied; (2) Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment be granted; and (3) the
Commissioner's determination be affirmed. (Doc. No. 19,
p. 1). The M & R found there was “substantial
evidence to support the ALJ's evaluation of the record
and his ultimate determination that Plaintiff was not
disabled.” Id. at 7-9.
Federal Magistrate Act states a district court “shall
make a de novo determination of those portions of the report
or specific proposed findings or recommendations to which
objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see
also Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 200 (4th Cir. 1983).
De novo review is not required, however, “when a party
makes general and conclusory objections that do not direct
the court to a specific error in the magistrate's
proposed findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v.
Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982); see also
Diamond, 416 F.3d at 315. Objections to an M & R
must specifically identify portions of the report and the
basis for those objections. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). Furthermore,
“a general objection to a magistrate judge's
findings is not sufficient-‘a party must object to the
[magistrate's] finding or recommendation . . . with
sufficient specificity so as reasonably to alert the district
court of the true ground for the objection.'”
United States v. Benton, 523 F.3d 424, 428 (4th Cir.
2008) (alteration in original) (quoting United States v.
Midgette, 478 F.3d 616, 622 (4th Cir. 2007)). General
objections include those that merely restate or reformulate
arguments a party has made previously to a magistrate judge.
See Jackson v. Astrue, No. 1:09-cv-467, 2011 WL
1883026 (W.D. N.C. May 17, 2011); Aldrich v. Bock,
327 F.Supp.2d 743, 747 (E.D. Mich. 2004) (“A general
objection, or one that merely restates the arguments
previously presented is not sufficient to alert the court to
alleged errors on the part of the magistrate judge. An
‘objection' that does nothing more than state a
disagreement with a magistrate's suggested resolution, or
simply summarizes what has been presented before, is not an
‘objection' as that term is used in this
context.”). “Examining anew arguments already
assessed in the [M & R] would waste judicial resources;
parties must explain why the [M & R] is erroneous, rather
than simply rehashing their prior filings and stating the
report's assessment was wrong.” Hendrix v.
Colvin, No. 5:12-cv- 01353, 2013 WL 2407126, at *4
(D.S.C. June 3, 2013). “General or conclusive
objections result not only in the loss of de novo review by
the district court, but also in the waiver of appellate
review.” Brock v. Colvin, No.
2:13-cv-0039-FDW-DSC, 2014 WL 5328651, at *3 (W.D. N.C. Oct.
20, 2014) (quoting Thompson v. Covenant Transp.,
Inc., No. 1:07-cv-275, 2008 WL 4372789, at *6 (W.D. N.C.
Sept. 22, 2008)).
objects to the M & R on three grounds: (1) the ALJ erred
in not finding Bilotta is illiterate; (2) the ALJ cannot rely
on vocational expert (“VE”) testimony in conflict
with the Dictionary of Occupational Titles
(“DOT”) without first obtaining an explanation;
and (3) the Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”)