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Mark R. v. Michael J. Astrue

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


May 3, 2012

MARK R. STINNETT,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge:

ORDER

The matter before the court is the Report and Recommendations filed by the Magistrate Judge (ECF No. 17) recommending that the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Plaintiff (ECF No. 14) be denied and the Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant (ECF No. 15) be granted.

BACKGROUND

On March 6, 2007, Plaintiff filed an application for disability benefits with the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. Plaintiff later filed an application for supplemental security income. Plaintiff's claim was denied at the initial level and again upon reconsideration. On December 18, 2009, an administrative hearing was held at which Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified before an administrative law judge ("ALJ"). On April 2, 2010, the ALJ issued a written decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled. The ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review.

On June 20, 2011, Plaintiff, represented by counsel, commenced this action seeking judicial review of Defendant's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (ECF No. 1). On January 5, 2012, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on the grounds that the ALJ failed to articulate clear and convincing reasons to reject Plaintiff's subjective symptom testimony at the administrative hearing. (ECF No. 14). On February 17, 2012, Defendant filed an opposition and a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment contending that the ALJ's decision was supported by substantial evidence and should be upheld. (ECF Nos. 15, 16).

On March 23, 2012, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation recommending that Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment be denied and Defendant's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment be granted. (ECF No. 17). The Magistrate Judge ordered that "no later than April 13, 2012, any party to this action may file written objections with the Court and serve a copy on all parties.... [and] any reply to the objections shall be filed with the Court and served on all parties no later than April 27, 2012." Id. at 21.

The docket reflects that no objections have been filed by either party.

REVIEW OF THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

The duties of the district court in connection with a report and recommendation of a magistrate judge are set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). The district judge must "make a de novo determination of those portions of the report ... to which objection is made," and "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). The district court need not review de novo those portions of a report and recommendation to which neither party objects. See Wang v. Masaitis, 416 F.3d 992, 1000 n.13 (9th Cir. 2005); U.S. v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121-22 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc).

A court "will disturb the denial of benefits only if the decision contains legal error or is not supported by substantial evidence." Tommasetti v. Astrue, 533 F.3d 1035, 1038 (9th Cir. 2008) (quotation omitted). "Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. The evidence must be more than a mere scintilla but not necessarily a preponderance." Id. (quotations omitted).

The Court has reviewed the Report and Recommendation, the administrative record, and the submissions of the parties. The Magistrate Judge correctly concluded that the ALJ "enumerated several specific credibility factors," including statements Plaintiff made regarding his daily activities and recreational activities, Plaintiff's demeanor and conduct during the administrative hearing, Plaintiff's history of alcohol use, and the medical record. (ECF No. 17 at 17). The Magistrate Judge correctly concluded that "the ALJ articulated clear and convincing reasons to reject Plaintiff's subjective symptom testimony." Id. at 16. The Magistrate Judge correctly recommended that Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment be denied and Defendant's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment be granted. Id. at 21.

CONCLUSION

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 17) is ADOPTED in its entirety. Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 14) is DENIED. Defendant's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 15) is GRANTED.

The Clerk of the Court shall administratively close this case.

United States District Judge WILLIAM Q. HAYES

20120503

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