United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division
April 30, 2014
ROCHELLE SMITH STERNER, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
DANA L. CHRISTENSEN, Chief District Judge.
Plaintiff Rochelle Smith Sterner brought this case under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking judicial review of the Commissioner of Social Security's decision denying her application for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. Each party filed a motion for summary judgment, and United States Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch entered Findings and Recommendation on April 10, 2014. Judge Lynch recommended that: (1) Sterner's motion be denied; (2) the Commissioner's motion be granted; and (3) the Commissioner's decision be affirmed.
Sterner did not timely object to the Findings and Recommendation, and so has waived her right to de novo review. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The Court will review the Findings and Recommendation for clear error. McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Commodore Bus. Mach., Inc., 656 F.2d 1309, 1313 (9th Cir. 1981). Clear error exists if the Court is left with a "definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed." United States v. Syrax, 235 F.3d 422, 427 (9th Cir. 2000).
There is no clear error in Judge Lynch's Findings and Recommendation. Judge Lynch did not clearly err in finding that the ALJ provided specific and legitimate reasons for rejecting the opinions of Dr. White and Dr. Mahoney, and reasonably crediting the opinion of Dr. Enright. Likewise, Judge Lynch did not clearly err in finding that the ALJ cited clear and convincing reasons in support of his adverse credibility determination regarding Sterner's testimony. Finally, Judge Lynch did not clearly err in finding that the ALJ permissibly discounted Lea Hamilton's statement, and that "because [Shalada] Bengston's statement largely reiterated Sterner's own testimony, which the ALJ properly discredited, any error on the ALJ's part in failing to provide additional reasons was harmless" (Doc. 21 at 19). Accordingly,
IT IS ORDERED that:
(1) Judge Lynch's Findings and Recommendation (Doc. 21) is ADOPTED IN FULL;
(2) Plaintiffs motion for summary judgment (Doc. 14) is DENIED;
(3) Defendant's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 17) is GRANTED;
(4) This case is now closed. The Clerk of Court is directed to enter judgment in favor of the Defendant.