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Joseph Brown v. Michael Astrue

July 6, 2011

JOSEPH BROWN, APPELLANT
v.
MICHAEL ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION C/O GENERAL COUNSEL



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (D.C. Civil No. 2-09-cv-01899) District Judge: Honorable Legrome D. Davis

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Restani, Judge.

PRECEDENTIAL

Submitted Under Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) June 21, 2011

Before: HARDIMAN, ALDISERT, Circuit Judges, and RESTANI,*fn1 Judge

OPINION OF THE COURT

Plaintiff-Appellant Joseph Brown appeals the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration's ("the Commissioner") denial of his application for supplemental security income ("SSI"). For the following reasons, we will affirm.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In March 2006, Joseph Brown, a fifty-one year old man with a history of violent crime and drug abuse, applied for SSI under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. ' 1381 et seq. Despite alleging a disability beginning in April 2002 due to bipolar disorder and anxiety, his application was initially denied in October 2006 because his "condition [was] not severe enough to keep [him] from working." Admin. R. 109. Upon Brown's request, a hearing was held before an administrative law judge ("ALJ") in February 2008 ("the hearing"). At the conclusion of the hearing, the ALJ determined that Brown was not disabled because he "has been capable of making a successful adjustment to other work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy." App. to Br. of Appellant A10. Brown then filed an appeal with the appeals council, but the administrative appeals judge concluded that there was "no reason . . . to review the [ALJ=s] decision." Admin. R. 1.

In May 2009, Brown filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In a report and recommendation, the Magistrate Judge concluded that the ALJ's decision was supported by substantial evidence and recommended that Brown's request for review be denied.

The District Court reviewed the issues raised by Brown's objections, and adopted the Magistrate Judge's report and recommendation, concluding that the ALJ's decision was indeed supported by substantial evidence. Brown now appeals.

JURISDICTION AND APPELLATE STANDARD OF REVIEW

The District Court had jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. ' 405(g). We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. ' 1291. "[O]ur review of the ALJ's decision is more deferential as we determine whether there is substantial evidence to support the decision of the Commissioner." Knepp v. Apfel, 204 F.3d 78, 83 (3d Cir. 2000).

DISCUSSION

We begin by addressing in some detail the standard of review a district court should apply when reviewing a magistrate ...


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