United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
PHILLIP D. COOPER PLAINTIFF
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner DEFENDANT
ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION  AND DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S CLAIM WITH
SULEYMAN OZERDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the Report and
Recommendation  of United States Magistrate Judge Robert
H. Walker, entered on February 1, 2018. Plaintiff Phillip D.
Cooper (“Cooper”) seeks review of the
Commissioner of Social Security's final decision denying
his claim for disability insurance benefits and supplemental
security income. Compl. . The Magistrate Judge recommended
that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed. R. & R.
 at 9. After due consideration of the Report and
Recommendation , the record, and relevant legal
authority, the Court finds that the Report and Recommendation
should be adopted as the finding of this Court, and that the
Commissioner's decision should be affirmed. Cooper's
claim should be dismissed.
4, 2013, Cooper filed for Social Security benefits on grounds
that he was unable to work due to bipolar disorder, anxiety,
depression, and high blood pressure beginning on October 16,
2012. R.  at 167-76, 198. Cooper was 52 years old at the
time of the alleged disability onset. Id. at 167.
Cooper previously worked as a construction laborer and truck
driver. Id. at 25, 199. The Social Security
Administration (“SSA”) denied his initial claim
and again upon reconsideration. Id. at 100-43.
requested and was granted a hearing before an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”). Id. at 40-73, 152-53.
On January 9, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision denying
Cooper's claim. Id. at 14-27. The ALJ found that
though Cooper had impairments of obesity, hypertension,
bipolar disorder, and anxiety, these impairments did not meet
the requirements for presumptive disability. Id. at
17. The ALJ concluded that Cooper retained the capacity to
perform medium work, with some limitations. Id. at
19. The ALJ relied on the testimony of a vocational expert to
find that Cooper could perform a significant number of jobs
in the national economy. Id. at 26. The ALJ thus
concluded that Cooper was not disabled. Id. at 27.
sought review of the ALJ's decision by the SSA's
Appeals Council, but the Appeals Council denied this request.
Id. at 4-9. Cooper then sought relief in this Court,
Compl. , asserting that the ALJ denied Cooper's due
process rights and abused her discretion, that the ALJ erred
by failing to consider relevant evidence, that the ALJ
erroneously evaluated Cooper's credibility, and that the
ALJ did not properly evaluate Cooper's mental
limitations. Pl.'s Mem. .
Report and Recommendation  issued on February 1, 2018,
the Magistrate Judge first addressed Cooper's claim that
the ALJ violated his due process rights to confront and
cross-examine witnesses and to see the transcripts of the
evaluation of examiners. R. & R.  at 4. The
Magistrate Judge noted that Cooper was represented during the
administrative proceedings and before the ALJ, and
Cooper's representative cross-examined the vocational
expert. Id. The SSA also informed Cooper of the
procedure for reviewing his file prior to the hearing date
and that the exhibits to be used at the hearing were
available for review. Id. As to Cooper's claim
that the SSA generated evidence unfavorable to him, the
Magistrate Judge found that the SSA ordered consultative
examinations by state agency physicians pursuant to the
Commissioner's authority to order such examinations.
Id. at 5 (citing 20 C.F.R. § 404.1519a(b)(1)
next contended that the ALJ erred by not considering evidence
dated prior to his disability onset or evidence dated after
the ALJ's decision. Pl.'s Mem.  14-15. The
Magistrate Judge determined that subsequent deterioration of
a claimant's condition may form the basis of a new claim,
but that it did not justify remand in the instant case, R.
& R.  at 6, and that the evidence of Cooper's
condition subsequent to the ALJ's decision was not
material to the period of alleged disability under
consideration, id. Cooper also disputed the
ALJ's credibility determination with respect to his
mental condition and correlating limitations, but the
Magistrate Judge found that substantial evidence supported
the ALJ's credibility determination, and that to assess
Cooper's credibility, the ALJ considered Cooper's
medical records, daily activities, precipitating and
aggravating factors, and medication. Id. at 8.
the Magistrate Judge addressed Cooper's argument that the
ALJ did not properly evaluate his mental condition. The
Magistrate Judge noted that the ALJ indeed concluded that
Cooper suffered from the severe impairment of bipolar
disorder and anxiety, but that Cooper was still able to
perform limited to simple, routine tasks requiring only
simple work-related decisions, in a work environment free of
fast-paced production requirements and with limited social
interaction. Id. The Magistrate Judge found that
substantial evidence supported this assessment, based upon
the ALJ's consideration of Cooper's medical records,
his self-reported daily activities, the effectiveness of
Cooper's medications, and medical consultative reviews.
Id. at 8-9. The Magistrate Judge recommended that
the decision of the Commissioner be affirmed. Id. at
of the Report and Recommendation  was mailed to Cooper on
February 1, 2018, via certified mail return receipt request
and was received by Cooper on February 3, 2018.
Acknowledgment of Receipt . Cooper has not objected to
the Report and Recommendation, and the time for doing so has
no party has objected to a magistrate judge's proposed
findings of fact and recommendation, the Court need not
conduct a de novo review of it. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1) (“A judge of the court shall make a de novo
determination of those portions of the report or specified
proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is
made.”). In such cases, the Court applies the
“clearly erroneous, abuse of discretion and contrary to
law” standard of review. United States v.
Wilson, 864 F.2d 1219, 1221 (5th Cir. 1989). Having
conducted the required review, the Court concludes that the
Magistrate Judge's findings are not clearly erroneous,
nor are they an abuse of discretion or contrary to law. The
Court will adopt the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation  as the opinion of this Court.
IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that, the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation ,
entered in this case on February 1, 2018, is ...