United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division
July 31, 2015
KEVIN EARL ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
After a careful, de novo review of the file, the Court concurs with the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, to which objections have been filed. (Doc. no. 18.) The Magistrate Judge recommended reversing and remanding this case to the Acting Commissioner for further consideration because of an error committed in addressing the opinion of Vasudev Kulkarni, M.D. (See doc, no. 17.) Nothing in the objections undermines the conclusion reached by the Magistrate Judge.
The Magistrate Judge thoroughly addressed the issues raised by the Acting Commissioner in her initial briefing and incorporated by reference in the objections. The Court also specifically rejects the contention that an error at step two in the sequential process in this case is "inconsequential." (Doc. no. 18, p. 3.) The Acting Commissioner cites to general propositions of law in the Eleventh Circuit that step two error may be dismissed as harmless, (id. at 2-4), but she has no answer to the Magistrate Judge's analysis that the harmless error analysis does not apply under the factual circumstances of this case because the erroneous consideration of Dr. Kulkarni's report carried forward beyond step two. (See doc, no. 17, pp. 12-13.)
Specifically, none of the other severe impairments identified in the administrative decision accounted for limitations that might be indicated by the effects of Plaintiffs potentially severe shoulder injury. As the Magistrate Judge also explained, although the administrative decision addressed Dr. Kulkarni's report beyond step two in the sequential process, there was no explanation for accepting certain portions that support the final administrative decision but ignoring portions suggesting limitations that were not accepted by the Acting Commissioner. (Id. at 9-10.) Thus, the Court OVERRULES the objections.
Accordingly, the Court ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge as its opinion. Therefore, pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the Court REVERSES the Acting Commissioner's final decision and REMANDS this case to the Acting Commissioner for further consideration in accordance with the Court's opinion.