United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Mancross Division
GODBEY WOOD, JUDGE
an independent and de novo review of the entire
record, the undersigned concurs with the Magistrate
Judge's March 12, 2018 Report and Recommendation, dkt.
no. 19, to which Plaintiff filed Objections, dkt. no. 20. In
her Objections, Plaintiff contends the Administrative Law
Judge's ("ALJ") unexplained hearing comments
constitute reversible error and that the Magistrate
Judge's recommendations regarding those comments should
be rejected. Id. Plaintiff's Objections offer
little more than a more detailed iteration of the contentions
she originally presented to the Court.
contends that, because "there has been no new evidence
since Plaintiff turned age 55, " the ALJ "could not
have discovered some new evidence revealing less limitations
after age 55." Id. at p. 2. This argument
confuses the issue. The question for this Court on review of
the Commissioner's decision is whether "substantial
evidence" from the "entire record" supports
the ALJ's factual findings, Cornelius v.
Sullivan, 936 F.2d 1143, 1145 (11th Cir. 1991), not
whether the ALJ has new evidence of an applicant's
limitations as she advances into a different age designation
under the Medical Vocational Guidelines.
Magistrate Judge correctly found, the ALJ's residual
functional capacity ("RFC") and disability
determinations were supported by "substantial evidence,
" specifically Dr. Langston Cleveland's April 2014
physical examination and Dr. John Whitley's May 2013
psychological evaluation. Dkt. No. 19, pp. 10-15, 19; Dkt.
No. 11-2, pp. 28-30. Moreover, Dr. Cleveland conducted his
in-depth physical examination just months before
Plaintiff's 55th birthday in November 2014. Dkt. No.
11-2, pp. 21, 28. By arguing her degenerative diseases caused
more limitations after she turned 55, dkt. no. 20, p. 2,
Plaintiff impermissibly asks this Court to reweigh the
evidence considered by the ALJ, which it cannot
Dyer v. Barnhart, 395 F.3d 1206, 1210 (11th Cir.
Plaintiff contends that the Magistrate Judge's citations
showing no reversible error arising from comments made by the
ALJ at the hearing "are unrevealing" because those
cases have distinguishable facts. While it is true that those
cases can be distinguished on their facts, it is also true,
and more importantly so, that those cases stand for the more
general proposition that an ALJ's hearing comments do not
constitute reversible error, even if they prove to be
inconsistent with the ALJ's final decision or seem to
assure a favorable outcome. Dkt. No. 19, pp. 20-22.
Critically, Plaintiff offers no authority to the contrary.
Plaintiff argues the ALJ abused his discretion by inducing
her to amend her alleged onset date yet still finding her not
disabled. Dkt. No. 20, pp. 4-5. Plaintiff implies the ALJ
failed to follow certain procedures but does not identify
which specific procedures the ALJ violated. Although
Plaintiff argues that the ALJ's medium level RFC
determination lacked a "rational basis" and the
"support of the record, " the Magistrate Judge
detailed and correctly found that the ALJ's RFC
determination rested on "substantial evidence, " as
found in the record. Dkt. No. 19, pp. 10-18. Plaintiff's
displeasure with the ALJ's unexplained hearing statement
is not unwarranted, but the lack of an explanation as to that
hearing colloquy does not thereby render the ALJ's
written decision unsupported or unfit for meaningful review.
The Magistrate Judge found, and this Court's review
confirms, that "substantial evidence" supports the
ALJ's decision. Because the ALJ clearly and
comprehensively explained the grounds for his decision,
Plaintiff's enumeration of error is without merit.
Objections underscore her dissatisfaction with the ALJ's
determination that she is not disabled within the meaning of
the Social Security Act, but this Court's review cannot
disturb decisions which find substantial support in the
evidence. Even if the evidence of record preponderates
against the Commissioner's factual findings, the Court
must still affirm so long as "substantial evidence"
supports the decision. Dyer, 395 F.3d at 1210. As
the Magistrate Judge correctly found, "substantial
evidence" supports the ALJ's RFC and disability
determinations, regardless of his unexplained hearing
the Court OVERRULES Plaintiff's
Objections and ADOPTS the Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation as the opinion of the
Court. The Court AFFIRMS the decision of the
Commissioner and DIRECTS the Clerk of Court
to enter the appropriate judgment of dismissal and to CLOSE
 Plaintiff also erroneously contends
the Magistrate Judge "considered Plaintiff to have less
limitations prior to her turning age 55." Dkt. No. 20,
p. 2. Plaintiff offers no citation attributing this claim to
the Magistrate Judge. Contrary to Plaintiff's allegation,
the Magistrate Judge found the ALJ's hearing comments to
indicate Plaintiff had "different limitations prior to
her turning 55, " namely "light work"
limitations. Dkt. No. 19, p. 20. The clear implication of the
Magistrate Judge's statement, when viewed in context as
it explained the ALJ's decision, is that the ALJ
considered Plaintiff to have more limitations prior
to her turning age 55, not less. Plaintiff may