United States District Court, D. Delaware
CHRISTOPHER A. FRANCIS, Plaintiff,
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
April 2, 2019, Chief Magistrate Judge Thynge issued a 36-page
Report and Recommendation (D.I. 15), recommending that the
Court deny the motion for summary judgment (D.I. 10) filed by
Plaintiff Christopher A. Francis (D.I. 10) and grant the
cross-motion for summary judgment (D.I. 12) filed by
Defendant Andrew Saul, the Commissioner of Social Security.
Plaintiff filed objections to the Report and Recommendation.
D.I. 16. Defendant filed a response to Plaintiff s
objections. D.I. 17. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1),
I have reviewed de novo the portions of the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation to which
Plaintiff has objected and will overrule Plaintiffs
objections and adopt the Report and Recommendation.
makes two objections. He objects first to the Magistrate
Judge's recommendation that the Court find that the
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) did not err in giving little
weight to the opinions of Plaintiff s treating pain
management specialist, Dr. Blanco. D.I. 16 at 1-8. I agree,
however, with the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that the
administrative record contained substantial evidence to
support the ALJ's factual determination that Dr.
Blanco's statements were not consistent with the
objective medical and non-medical evidence. As the Magistrate
Judge explained in substantial detail, see D.I. 15
at 30-32, Plaintiffs medical examination notations, treatment
history, refusal of injections, and daily activities were
inconsistent with the level of incapacity Dr. Blanco
attributed to Plaintiff and provided a substantial
evidentiary basis for the ALJ's decision to give Dr.
Blanco's opinion little weight. Accordingly, I will not
disturb the ALJ's findings relative to Dr. Blanco.
See Gonzalez v. Astrue, 537 F.Supp.2d 644, 659 (D.
Del. 2008) ("The Court must uphold the
Commissioner's factual decisions if they are supported by
'substantial evidence.'" (citations omitted)).
next objects to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation
that the Court find that the ALJ did not err in assessing
Plaintiffs credibility. See D.I. 16 at 8-9. The ALJ
found in relevant part:
[Plaintiffs] medically determinable impairments could
reasonably be expected to cause the alleged symptoms;
however, [Plaintiffs] statements concerning the intensity,
persistence[, ] and limiting effects of these symptoms are
not entirely credible for the reasons explained in this
decision. In assessing the credibility of [Plaintiffs]
statements regarding his symptoms and their effects on his
functioning, the undersigned has considered not only the
objective medical evidence, but his medical history, the
character of his symptoms, precipitating and aggravating
factors, the type of treatment used to relieve his
pain/symptoms, his response to treatment, his daily
activities, his work history, and the statements of treating
and examining sources regarding the nature and severity of
his overall condition.
Overall, the medical records reflect that [Plaintiffs]
cardiac, musculoskeletal, and endocrine impairments result in
some limitation in his ability to perform work related
activities, but not to the degree alleged. Primarily, ...
while [Plaintiff] has a strong work history which bolsters
his credibility, his subjective complaints and allegations
far outweigh the objective and clinical findings.
D.I. 7-2 at 28-29 (citations omitted). The medical and
non-medical record evidence, which the ALJ accurately set
forth in substantial detail, see Id. at 29-30,
provided substantial support for the ALJ's determination
that Plaintiff overstated the limiting effect of his
symptoms. It is noteworthy that the ALJ did not reject
Plaintiffs allegations regarding his symptoms and limited
Plaintiff to light work involving no more than occasional
postural activity and no climbing or exposure to heights or
hazards. See D.I. 7-2 at 27. Thus, the ALJ did not
reject Plaintiff s testimony outright, but gave it careful
consideration and assessed it in a manner that is consistent
with the overall evidentiary record. Because the ALJ's
credibility assessment of Plaintiff is supported by
substantial evidence, I will not disturb it and will overrule
Plaintiffs objection. See Gonzalez, 537 F.Supp.2d at
I agree with the Magistrate Judge's findings and
THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. Plaintiffs objections (D.I. 16) are OVERRULED;
2. The Report and Recommendation (D.I. 15) is ADOPTED;
3. Plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment (D.I. 10) is
4. Defendant's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment (D.I.
12) is GRANTED.
5. The Clerk of Court is directed to enter judgment in favor
of Defendant and ...