United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
0'Grady United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Melissa Gaye
Jordan's Partial Exceptions to the Report and
Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge (Dkt.
27). In her motion, Plaintiff asserts three grounds of error
in United States Magistrate Judge Buchanan's Report and
Recommendation ("R&R") (Dkt. No. 25). This
Court reviews de novo those portions of the R&R
to which objection is made. See 28 U.S.C.A. §
636. Having reviewed the record, the Court finds no error in
Magistrate Judge Buchanan's R&R, which the Court
hereby APPROVES AND ADOPTS IN FULL.
Plaintiffs three assignments of error fail for the reasons
Plaintiff asserts that the Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ") erred by failing to address Plaintiffs
purported physical limitations in his decision. Dkt. 27 at 2.
As part of this argument, Plaintiff claims that Magistrate
Judge Buchanan erred by failing to include in her R&R
"a discussion of all the impairments the ALJ found to be
severe, including COPD and painful lower back
cannot now, for the first time, challenge whether her
physical impairments received proper consideration by the
ALJ. The Fourth Circuit has held that a party may not assert
entirely new issues for the first time in objections to a
magistrate judge's recommendation. See Samples v.
Ballard, 860 F.3d 266, 273 (4th Cir. 2017). In
Samples, the Fourth Circuit elaborated on its
decision in United States v. George, 971 F.2d 1113
(4th Cir. 1992). The court in George held that
"as part of [a district court's] obligation to
determine de novo any issue to which proper
objection is made, a district court is required to consider
all arguments directed to that issue, regardless of whether
they were raised before the magistrate."
George, 971 F.2d at 1118. In Samples, the
Fourth Circuit explained that "George envisions
a hierarchical scheme, wherein a legal case is
divided into issues, and issues are further
subdivided into arguments:" Samples, 860 F.3d
at 272. The Court further defined the issues as the
"asserted grounds for relief, " and the
arguments as "whatever position is taken in
support of or against each asserted ground for relief."
Id. at 273.
this scheme, the relevant "issue" that Plaintiff
asserted before Magistrate Judge Buchanan was the ALJ's
purported failure to properly consider Plaintiffs mental
impairments. Plaintiff herself acknowledges that her appeal
was focused on the ALJ's treatment of the evidence of
Plaintiff s mental impairments. See Dkt. 27 at 2.
Her memorandum in support of her Motion for Summary Judgment
only challenged Defendant's decision based on Plaintiffs
mental impairments. See Dkt. 15 at 2, 5
("[Plaintiff] has a number of impairments including high
blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sleep
apnea, and arthritis. Of paramount importance,
however, [Plaintiff] has suffered from mental
impairments since early childhood ... The overwhelming
medical evidence of record shows [Plaintiff] to be suffering
from severe and disabling mental impairments.")
(emphasis added). Although Plaintiff is entitled in her
objection to raise new arguments related to the
whether the ALJ properly considered her mental impairments,
she cannot now raise the new issue of whether the ALJ
properly considered her physical impairments.
second assignment of error, Plaintiff claims that Magistrate
Judge Buchanan incorrectly referred to certain physicians as
Plaintiffs "other doctors, " when in fact these
physicians were "consultative examiners who did not have
a longitudinal history of treatment of [Plaintiff] and thus
[were] not as familiar with the severity of [Plaintiffs]
impairments as Dr. Wilson." Dkt. 27 at 2-3. Although the
argument is not entirely clear (and Plaintiff does not
provide a cite for the objectionable statement), Plaintiff
seems to suggest that Magistrate Judge Buchanan erroneously
believes that the consulting medical experts were Plaintiffs
treating physicians, thereby skewing the review of the
ALJ's decision. However, a review of the R&R makes
clear that Magistrate Judge Buchanan distinguished between
Dr. Wilson as Plaintiffs treating physician and other
physicians as consultants. See Dkt. 25 at 8; 11; 14;
18-19; 25. Plaintiffs unsupported contention to the contrary
Plaintiff reasserts an argument made in her appeal, alleging
that the ALJ's hypothetical question to the vocational
expert ("VE") failed to properly approximate an
individual with impairments and limitations similar to
Plaintiffs, and that Plaintiffs representative was "cut
off at the hearing by the ALJ. See Dkt. 27 at 3;
Dkt. 15 at 6-7. Because "a mere restatement of the
arguments raised in the summary judgment filings does not
constitute an 'objection' for the purposes of
district court review, " Plaintiffs third argument
fails. Nichols v. Colvin, 100 F.Supp.3d
487, 497 (E.D. Va. 2015) (noting that the purpose of
magistrate review is to conserve judicial resources).
upon review of the record and for good cause shown, the Court
hereby APPROVES AND ADOPTS IN FULL
Magistrate Judge Buchanan's R&R (Dkt. 25).
 This is true despite the fact that the
header of Plaintiff s Issue I is broadly phrased as
"Whether Defendant erred by failing to support his
decision by substantial evidence." See Dkt. 15
at 1. The argument beneath that header is limited to a
discussion of the ALJ's consideration of mental
impairments. See Id. at 5.
Additionally, permitting Plaintiff to raise the new issue of
the ALJ's consideration of her purported physical
impairments would lead to inequitable results. Defendant
relied on this limitation in her memorandum supporting her
Motion for Summary Judgment and opposing Plaintiffs.
See Dkt. 22 at 3 n.3. Plaintiffs Opposition to
Defendant's motion did not object to Defendant's
characterization of the limited scope of review, nor did it
reference physical impairments. See Dkt. 23.
Magistrate Judge Buchanan also relied on this limitation in
her R&R. See Dkt. 25 at 7 n.3 ("Because
Plaintiff limited her arguments on appeal to issues ...