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Romanoskey v. Berryhill

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

April 26, 2018

NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security[1] Defendant

          (SAPORITO. M.J)


          MALACHY E. MANNION United States District Judge

         Pending before the court is the report and recommendation of Judge Saporito, (Doc. 18), recommending that plaintiff's appeal from the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security be denied, and that the decision of the Commissioner be affirmed. Judge Saporito reviewed the record in this case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §405(g) to determine whether there is substantial evidence to support the Commissioner's decision denying the plaintiffs claims for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under the Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act, ("Act"). 42 U.S.C. §§401-433. 1381-1383f. The plaintiff, Tracy L. Romanoskey, has filed objections to Judge Saporito's report.[2] (Doc. 19). The Commissioner responded to plaintiff's objections. (Doc. 20). For the following reasons, the report and recommendation is ADOPTED, plaintiff's appeal of the decision of the Commissioner will be DENIED, and plaintiff's objections will be OVERRULED.


         When objections are timely filed to the report and recommendation of a magistrate judge, the district court must review de novo those portions of the report to which objections are made. 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1) Brown v. Astrue. 649 F.3d 193. 195 (3d Cir. 2011). Although the standard is de novo, the extent of review is committed to the sound discretion of the district judge, and the court may rely on the recommendations of the magistrate judge to the extent it deems proper. Rieder v. Apfel. 115 F.Supp.2d 496. 499 (M.D.Pa. 2000) (citing United States v. Raddatz. 447 U.S. 667. 676 (1980)).

         For those sections of the report and recommendation to which no objection is made, the court should, as a matter of good practice, "satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation." Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). advisory committee notes; see also Univac Dental Co. v. Dentsply Intern.. Inc.. 702 F.Supp.2d 465. 469 (M.D.Pa. 2010) (citing Henderson v. Carlson. 812 F.2d 874. 878 (3d Cir. 1987) (explaining judges should give some review to every report and recommendation)). Nevertheless, whether timely objections are made or not, the district court may accept, not accept, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge. 28 U.S.C. $636(b)(1); Local Rule 72.31.

         When reviewing the denial of disability benefits, the court must determine whether the denial is supported by substantial evidence. Brown v. Bowen. 845 F.2d 1211. 1213 (3d Cir. 1988): Johnson v. Commissioner of Social Sec. 529 F.3d 198. 200 (3d Cir. 2008). Substantial evidence "does not mean a large or considerable amount of evidence, but rather such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Pierce v. Underwood. 487 U.S. 552. 108 S.Ct. 2541. 101 l.Ed.2d 490 (1988); Hartranft v. Apfel. 181 F.3d 358. 360. (3d Cir. 1999), Johnson. 529 F.3d at 200. It is less than a preponderance of the evidence but more than a mere scintilla. Richardson v. Perales. 402 U.S. 389. 401. 91 S.Ct. 1420. 28 l.Ed.2d 842 (1971). If the ALJ's decision is supported by substantial evidence, the court is "bound by those findings." Faranoli v. Massanari. 247 F.3d 34. 38 (3d Cir. 2001) (citation omitted). Furthermore, in determining if the ALJ's decision is supported by substantial evidence the court may not parse the record but rather must scrutinize the record as a whole. Smith v. Califano. 637 F.2d 968. 970 (3d Cir. 1981).

         To receive disability benefits, the plaintiff must demonstrate an "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C. §432(d)(1)(A). Furthermore,

[a]n individual shall be determined to be under a disability only if [her] physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that [she] is not only unable to do [her] previous work but cannot, considering [her] age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy, regardless of whether such work exists in the immediate area in which [she] lives, or whether a specific job vacancy exists for [her], or whether [she] would be hired if [she] applied for work. For purposes of the preceding sentence (with respect to any individual), 'work which exists in the national economy' means work which exists in significant numbers either in the region where such individual lives or in several regions of the country.

42 U.S.C. §423(d)(2)(A).


         On June 3, 2013, Romanoskey protectively filed her application for DIB and SSI. She alleged that she became disabled on January 1, 2003. Plaintiff alleged she had the following impairments which rendered her disabled: post-traumatic stress disorder; depression; anxiety; panic disorder; bipolar; arthritis in back and shoulder; and degenerative joint disease.

         Judge Saporito's report and recommendation ("R&R"), as well as the initial briefs of the parties, contain a thorough review of the plaintiff's medical history. The plaintiff did not file any objections to Judge Saporito's report with respect to his medical history, so they will be adopted. See Butterfield v. Astrue, 2010 WL 4027768, *3 (E.D.Pa. Oct. 14, 2010) ("To obtain de novo determination of a magistrate [judge's] findings by a district court, 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1) requires both timely and specific objections to the report.") (quoting Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d 5, 6 (3d Cir.1984)). Also, since the five-step legal framework for addressing a disability claim was properly stated in the R&R, and the findings of the ALJ at each step are in the record as well as in the R&R, the court incorporates by reference these portions of the R&R and the ALJ's decision.

         III. ...

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