United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division
G. DOUMAR SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the Report and
Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge with
respect to the parties' cross motions for summary
judgment in the instant case. See ECF No. 19. For the reasons
below, the Court hereby ADOPTS such Report
and Recommendation, ECF No. 19; DENIES the
plaintiffs motion for summary judgment, ECF No. 12;
GRANTS the Commissioner's motion for
summary judgment, ECF No. 16; and AFFIRMS
the final decision of the Commissioner.
Gilchrist ("Plaintiff), proceeding pro se, brought this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and
1382(c)(3), seeking judicial review of a final decision of
the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
("Commissioner"), which denied Plaintiffs claims
for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") under
Title II of the Social Security Act and for Supplemental
Security Income ("SSI") under Title XVI of the
Social Security Act. ECF No. 3.
October 2, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment. ECF No. 12. On November 2, 2019, the Commissioner
filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and supporting memorandum,
which also includes the Commissioner's response in
opposition to Plaintiffs Motion. ECF Nos. 16, 17. On November
9, 2018, Plaintiff filed his response in opposition to the
Commissioner's Motion. ECF No. 18. The parties'
motions were then referred to United States Magistrate Judge
Robert J. Krask pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and
(C) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) for a report
and recommendation. See ECF No. 10.
10, 2019, Judge Krask filed his Report and Recommendation,
which recommends that that the Court (1) deny Plaintiffs
motion for summary judgment; (2) grant the Commissioner's
motion for summary judgment; and (3) affirm the final
decision of the Commissioner. ECF No. 19 at 27. By receiving
a copy of this Report and Recommendation, each party was
advised of the right to file written objections to specific
findings or recommendations made by Judge Krask in the report
and was further advised that the district court would conduct
a de novo review of any portions of such report to which
timely objection is made. Id. at 28. On July 19,
2019, Plaintiff filed a purported objection to the Report and
Recommendation, ECF No. 20, and the Commissioner filed a
brief response thereto, ECF No. 21. Plaintiffs purported
objection is now before the Court.
. STANDARD OF REVIEW
the magistrate judge's report and recommendation is filed
with the Court, the district judge "shall make a de novo
determination of those portions of the report or specified
proposed findings or recommendations to which [proper]
objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). Upon review, the district judge
"may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings or recommendations made by the magistrate
judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
if a party makes only "general and conclusory objections
that do not direct the court to a specific error in the
magistrate's proposed findings and recommendations,"
de novo review is unnecessary. Allen v. Coll. of William
& Mary, 245 F.Supp.2d 777, 788 (E.D. Va. 2003)
(quoting Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th
Cir. 1982) (internal citations omitted)). Moreover, "[a]
mere restatement of the arguments raised in the summary
judgment filings does not constitute an objection for the
purposes of district court review." Nichols v.
Colvin, 100 F.Supp.3d 487, 497 (E.D. Va. 2015); see
also Hartfield v. Colvin, No. 2:16-CV-431, 2017 WL
4269969, at *7 (E.D. Va. Sep. 26, 2017) ("The Court may
reject perfunctory or rehashed objections . . . that amount
to 'a second opportunity to present the arguments already
considered by the Magistrate Judge.") (internal citation
omitted). If no proper objection is made, the district court
need only review the report and recommendation for clear
error. See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Ace. Ins.
Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005).
maintains that he became disabled in May 2014 due to injuries
in his back, knees, and hips, and that he has been unable to
work since that time. His summary judgment motion therefore
seeks reversal of the June 21, 2017 decision of the
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") denying him
disability benefits. However, Judge Krask found in his Report
and Recommendation that substantial evidence supports the
ALJ's finding that Plaintiff is not disabled because (1)
substantial evidence shows that that Plaintiff had a residual
functional capacity for light work, and (2) substantial
evidence shows that Plaintiff was capable of returning to his
past relevant work as a customer service representative and a
general inspector, both of which are classified as a light
work. ECF No. 19. Judge Krask therefore recommends that the
Commissioner's decision denying Plaintiff disability
benefits be affirmed. Id.
purported objection to the Report and Recommendation,
Plaintiff does not take issue with any specific findings or
recommendations contained therein. Rather, Plaintiff claims
that he "object[s] to the decision made by the
Commissioner" and then restates the arguments he raised
on summary judgment that (1) the ALJ's decision is not
supported by substantial evidence, (2) that Plaintiff has
been disabled since May 2014, and (3) that Plaintiff has been
unable to work since that time. ECF No. 20. Plaintiff further
claims that the Commissioner failed to "look at the
full picture of [his] medical conditions, [which] are not
going away and [are] getting worse." Id.
forth above, Plaintiffs rehashing of arguments that he raised
on summary judgment does qualify as an objection for purposes
of this Court's review. Nichols, 100 F.Supp.3d
at 497. Nor has Plaintiff identified any specific error in
the Report and Recommendation to trigger such review.
Therefore, the Court need only review the Report and
Recommendation for clear error. Allen, 245 F.Supp.2d
at 788. After reviewing same, along with the files and record
of this case, the Court FINDS no clear error
in the Report and Recommendation.