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Jarman v. Colvin

United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

March 17, 2015

CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.



The Plaintiff, Kenneth Jarman, brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to challenge a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”), who denied his application for disability insurance benefits. Consistent with the Court’s practice and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), this matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Edward B. Atkins for the issuance of a report and recommendation containing proposed findings and recommendations. [R. 14.]

On January 20, 2015, Magistrate Judge Atkins filed a Report and Recommendation. [R. 14.] In this Report, the Magistrate Judge considers Jarman’s three arguments in support of his summary judgment motion: (1) that the administrative law judge (ALJ) did not give the appropriate weight to the opinion of Jarman’s treating physician and failed to provide adequate reasoning for not accepting the opinion; (2) that the ALJ did not consider the combined effects of Jarman’s impairments in determining whether Jarman was disabled; and (3) that a reasonable person could not conclude that Jarman was disabled in light of the results from his treating physician. [R. 14 at 2-3 (citing R. 10-1 at 1-2)]. Judge Atkins noted that Jarman’s spartan brief did little more than list these arguments. Relying on Judge Amul Thapar’s decision in Smith v. Colvin, No. 6:14-cv-117-ART, 2014 WL 3659778, R. 12-1 (E.D. Ky. Oct. 27, 2014), Judge Atkins recommended that Jarman’s “reasonable person” argument was forfeited for lack of argumentation, and that this Court should deny Jarman’s motion as to that ground. [R. 14 at 3]. However, following Smith, Judge Atkins ordered re-briefing of Jarman’s treating physician rule argument and his “impairments in combination” argument, since his brief on those grounds was at least colorable. [R. 14 at 3-4].

In accordance with Judge Atkins’ order, Jarman filed a renewed brief for his summary judgment motion on February 2, 2015, [R. 15], and the Commissioner timely filed a response, [R. 16], which was specifically permitted by Judge Atkins’ order. On February 24, 2015, Judge Atkins filed a second Report and Recommendation relating to Jarman’s re-briefed arguments. [R. 17]. In the Report, the Magistrate Judge considers and rejects Jarman’s two remaining arguments. Specifically, Judge Atkins finds that the ALJ properly identified “good reasons” for giving less weight to the opinion of Jarman’s treating physician. [Id. at 5-8]. Judge Atkins further finds that the ALJ considered the combined effect of all of Jarman’s impairments – including his obesity – in the opinion. [Id. at 9-10]. Although the parties were given fourteen (14) days from the filing of the Report and Recommendation to file objections [id. at 10], neither party objected.

Generally, this Court must make a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objections are made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c). When no objections are made, this Court is not required to “review . . . a magistrate’s factual or legal conclusions, under a de novo or any other standard . . . .” See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985). Parties who fail to object to a magistrate’s report and recommendation are also barred from appealing a district court’s order adopting that report and recommendation. United States v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947 (6th Cir. 1981). Nevertheless, this Court has examined the record and agrees with the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation. Accordingly, and the Court being sufficiently advised, it is hereby ORDERED as follows:

1. The Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendations [R. 14, 17] are ADOPTED as the opinion of this Court;

2. The Plaintiff s Motion for Summary Judgment [R. 10] is DENIED;

3. The Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment [R. 11 ] is GRANTED; and 4. Judgment in favor of the Defendant will be entered contemporaneously herewith.

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