United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Sandra K. Maesse, Plaintiff,
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
DONOVAN W. FRANK, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court upon Plaintiff Sandra K. Maesse's ("Plaintiff") objections (Doc. No. 18) to the Report and Recommendation ("R&R") of Magistrate Judge Franklin L. Noel, dated January 5, 2014 (Doc. No. 17). The R&R recommends that this Court grant Defendant's motion for summary judgment, deny Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, and dismiss this case with prejudice. (Doc. No. 17 at 13-14.) Plaintiff filed timely objections to the R&R.
The Court has conducted a de novo review of the record, including a review of the arguments and submissions of counsel, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Rule 72.2(b). The factual background for the above-entitled matter is clearly and precisely set forth in the Report and Recommendation and is incorporated by reference for purposes of Plaintiff's objections.
Based on the de novo review of the record and all of the arguments and submissions of the parties, and the Court being otherwise duly advised in the premises, the Court adopts the R&R.
In November 2009, Plaintiff filed an application for Supplemental Security Disability Income ("SSDI") benefits, claiming that she became disabled due to a right wrist injury in 1998. (Doc. No. 7 ("Admin. R.") at 75, 78.) Plaintiff later amended her application to allege a disability onset date of December 2008, because SSDI benefits are only available for one year before the date of the application for benefits. ( Id. at 125.) Plaintiff's application was denied and she requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). ALJ Denzel Busick held a hearing in August 2011 and, in a decision dated August 29, 2011, denied Plaintiff's application. ( Id. at 17-24.)
Specifically, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff could pick up twenty pounds occasionally, ten pounds or less frequently, and that she was not limited to sedentary work, but would have restrictions in reaching and grasping due to her wrist injury. ( Id. at 19-20.) Based on this functional capacity, the vocational expert testified that there were jobs in the national economy that Plaintiff could perform. ( Id. at 66.) Accordingly, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. ( Id. at 24.)
Plaintiff unsuccessfully appealed the ALJ's decision and this litigation followed.
I. Legal Standard
This Court's review of the Commissioner's decision is limited to determining whether that decision is "supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole." McKinney v. Apfel, 228 F.3d 860, 863 (8th Cir. 2000).
Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance, but is enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the Commissioner's conclusion. In determining whether existing evidence is substantial, we consider evidence that detracts from the Commissioner's decision as well as evidence that supports it. As long as substantial evidence in the record supports the Commissioner's decision, we may not reverse it because substantial evidence exists in the record that would have supported a contrary outcome or because we would have decided the case differently.
Id. (citations omitted).
II. Plaintiff's ...