United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CARLTON W. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court pursuant to the Report and
Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Linda
Anderson. Docket No. 18. Plaintiff Haley Williams objects to
the findings and recommendations. Docket No. 19. On May 25,
2018, Williams moved for summary judgment, arguing that the
ALJ incorrectly applied the law by failing to give due
consideration to the medical opinions of Williams'
treating cardiologist, Dr. Gaymes. Docket No. 12. The Social
Security Administration countered with a motion to affirm the
Commissioner's initial determination. Docket No. 15.
Judge Anderson provides a thorough procedural history and
addresses both motions in her Report and Recommendation.
Docket No. 18. Judge Anderson recommends that the decision of
the Commissioner be upheld. Id. at 20.
Court's review is limited to “whether (1) the final
decision is supported by substantial evidence and (2) whether
the Commissioner used the proper legal standards to evaluate
the evidence.” Whitehead v. Colvin, 820 F.3d
776, 779 (5th Cir. 2016) (citations omitted).
the opinions, diagnoses, and medical evidence of a treating
physician are given considerable weight in the ALJ's
determination. See Garcia v. Colvin, 622 Fed.Appx.
405, 410 (5th Cir. 2015) (citations omitted). The ALJ,
however, may conclude that there is good cause for not giving
the treating physician's opinion controlling weight.
See Newton v. Apfel, 209 F.3d 448, 456 (5th Cir.
2000). Good cause exists if the opinion is “brief and
conclusory, not supported by medically acceptable clinical
laboratory diagnostic techniques, or otherwise unsupported by
the evidence.” Garcia, 622 Fed.Appx. at 410
(citations omitted). “Absent reliable medical evidence
from a treating or examining physician controverting the
claimant's treating specialist, an ALJ may
reject the medical opinion of the treating physician
only if the ALJ performs a detailed analysis of the
treating physician's views under the criteria set forth
in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(d)(2).” Thibodeaux v.
Astrue, 324 Fed.Appx. 440, 444 (5th Cir. 2009) (emphasis
added); see also Purvis v. Colvin, No.
3:14-CV-290-CWR-FKB, 2015 WL 5667014, at *1 (S.D.Miss. Sept.
25, 2015). The criteria set forth in 20 C.F.R. §
404.1527(d)(2) include: (1) the examining relationship; (2)
the treatment relationship, including the length of time the
physician has treated the claimant, the frequency of
examination by the physician, and the nature and extent of
the treatment relationship; (3) support for the
physician's opinions in the medical evidence of record;
(4) consistency of the opinions with the record as a whole;
(5) the specialization of the treating physician; and (6) any
other factors brought to the ALJ's attention. See
Bentley v. Colvin, No. 13-CV-4238-P, 2015 WL 5836029, at
*7 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 30, 2016).
argues that the Report and Recommendation reveals a flaw in
the ALJ's legal analysis: the ALJ evaluated the six
factors before she made a good cause determination regarding
Dr. Gaymes' opinion. Williams supports her position by
pointing to a previous order from Magistrate Judge Ball in a
prior iteration of this case. See Williams v.
Colvin, 3:14-CV-785-FKB, Docket No. 19 at 14 (S.D.Miss.
March 31, 2016) (citing Bentley, 2015 WL 5836029 at
*8) (“six-factor analysis only comes into play after
the ALJ has determined that a treating source's medical
opinion is not entitled to controlling weight.”). There
is a discrepancy, however, in this Court's reasoning on
whether good cause must come first or whether the six-factors
may support a good cause determination. See Purvis v.
Colvin, No. 3:14-CV-290-CWR-FKB, 2015 WL 5667014, at *1
(S.D.Miss. Sept. 25, 2015) (“The post-Newton
cases cited above, however, as well as the plain language of
20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(2), suggest that the
Newton factors are supposed to inform whether there
is good cause for disregarding a treating physician's
Court need not address this point on the law now, because
while the ALJ does not explicitly state that “good
cause” existed, her decision regarding Dr. Gaymes'
opinion nonetheless applies this standard. She wrote first
that his opinions “did not receive controlling or even
significant weight, since they are not consistent with the
whole of the record.” Docket No. 10 at 1230. In other
words, the ALJ found that Dr. Gaymes' opinion was
unsupported by the evidence. Garcia, 622 Fed.Appx.
at 410 (citations omitted). Then, as noted in the Report and
Recommendation, the ALJ goes into the six specific factors to
further elaborate on why Dr. Gaymes' opinion did not
receive significant weight. See Docket No. 18 at 13.
Therefore, the ALJ did use the proper legal standards in
coming to her conclusion.
does not cite to caselaw to support her remaining objections.
Having reviewed these objections, the Court finds that the
Report and Recommendation will be adopted as the Order of
this Court. Accordingly, the determination of the Social
Security Administration is affirmed and this case is
dismissed with prejudice. A separate Final Judgment will
issue this day.