United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
CARLA J. BOHNER, Plaintiff
ANDREW M. SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant
MALACHY E. MANNION United States District Judge
before the court is the December 4, 2018 report and
recommendation of Judge Schwab, (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 Schwab
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 plaintiff's claim for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security
Act, (“Act”). 42 U.S.C. §§401-433,
1381-1383f. The court has jurisdiction over this appeal
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1383(c)(3). The plaintiff, Carla
J. Bohner, has filed objections to Judge Schwab's
report. (Doc. 19). The Commissioner responded to
plaintiff's objections on December 28, 2018. (Doc. 20).
following reasons, the report and recommendation is
ADOPTED and, plaintiff's appeal of the
decision of the Commissioner will be DENIED.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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)).
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 (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.
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.” Fargnoli
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
the Supreme Court in Biestek v. Berryhill, __U.S.__
139 S.Ct. 1148, 1154 (2019), stated that “the threshold
for [ ] evidentiary sufficiency [substantial-evidence
standard] is not high.” “It means-and means
only-‘such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.'”
Id. (citation omitted).
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.
[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).
RELEVANT MEDICAL EVIDENCE
Schwab'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 Schwab's report with respect to her relevant
medical history, so it 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, (Doc. 18 at 8-9), and the findings of the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) at each step is
in the record, (Tr. 225-234), the court incorporates by
reference these portions of the R&R and the ALJ's