United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
MEMORANDUM ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
L. MAZZANT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
for consideration the report of the United States Magistrate
Judge in this action, this matter having been heretofore
referred to the Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636. On June 17, 2019, the report of the Magistrate Judge
(Dkt. #14) was entered containing proposed findings of fact
and recommendations that the final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security Administration be affirmed.
Having received the report of the Magistrate Judge, having
considered Plaintiff’s Objections (Dkt. #15), and
Defendant’s Response (Dkt. #17), and having conducted a
de novo review, the Court is of the opinion that the
Magistrate Judge’s report should be adopted.
TO REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
who files timely written objections to a magistrate
judge’s report and recommendation is entitled to a de
novo review of those findings or recommendations to which the
party specifically objects. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C);
herein, Plaintiff’s opening brief argues that the ALJ
failed to properly evaluate the treating source opinion of
Dr. J. Michael Benson (“Dr. Benson”) because the
ALJ did not conduct a Section 404.1527(c) factor analysis
prior to assigning Dr. Benson’s opinion little weight
(Dkt. #9 at pp.12–18). The Magistrate Judge agreed that
a factor analysis was required; but, recommended affirming
the decision of the Commissioner because the ALJ narratively
considered such factors:
While the ALJ’s opinion contains a line stating that
the evidence was reviewed in accordance with the regulations,
this statement on its own is not sufficient. However, coupled
with the remaining text of the decision, it is clear that in
the instant case the ALJ did consider each of the factors.
Specifically, the ALJ considered and discussed in the
decision the (1) length of the physician’s treatment of
Plaintiff, (2) the physician’s frequency of
examination, and (3) the nature and extent of the treatment
relationship by reciting the details and diagnoses of each of
the appointments between Plaintiff and Dr. Benson during the
treating relationship. The record also shows the ALJ
considered (4) the support of the physician’s opinion
afforded by the medical evidence of record and (5) the
consistency of the opinion with the record as a whole.
Because the ALJ’s decision clearly contains
consideration of the relevant factors, Plaintiff has failed
to meet his burden of establishing that the ALJ’s
decision was unsupported by substantial evidence.
Accordingly, the Court finds that the ALJ sufficiently
analyzed the relevant factors and that remand is not required
on this issue; the Commissioner’s dismissal of
Plaintiff’s disability claim should be affirmed.
(Dkt. #14 at pp. 16–17) (internal quotations and
citations omitted). Plaintiff objects to the report’s
suggestion that the ALJ’s narrative summation of the
medical evidence is sufficient (Dkt. #15 at pp. 3, 5), and
further contends that the ALJ failed to provide the
“detailed analysis” required by Newton
(Dkt. #15 at pp. 5–6). In support of his position,
Plaintiff cites to several cases from outside of the Fifth
Circuit (Dkt. #15 at p. 3, n.16) and quarrels with two
opinions cited by the Magistrate Judge from other Texas
federal courts (Dkt. #15 at pp.6–7). The views of
courts outside this circuit are merely persuasive authority
and do not bind this Court. As demonstrated by the report,
numerous district courts in this Circuit have held that a
narrative discussion is sufficient to comply with
Newton (Dkt. #14 at pp. 15–17). Although
Plaintiff objects that Motley v. Berryhill, No.
3:18-cv-90, 2019 WL 1060894 (S.D. Tex. Jan. 25, 2019), and
Birge v. Colvin, No. 3:12-cv-1777-G (BH), 2013 WL
5526695 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 30, 2013), are distinguishable from
the instant case (Dkt. #15 at pp. 6–7), the Court
disagrees. Both cases found that a narrative discussion of
the Newton factors was sufficient, and an explicit
recitation was not necessary. Motley, 2019 WL
1060894, at *4-5; Birge, 2013 WL 5526695, at *15-17.
The Motley Court additionally found that a narrative
discussion of the factors constituted a “detailed
analysis” under Kneeland v. Berryhill. 2019 WL
1060894, at *5, n.2. Moreover, the Fifth Circuit itself has
indicated that a narrative discussion of the relevant factors
is adequate consideration. See, e.g., Vybiral v.
Barnhart, 73 Fed.Appx. 84, at *1 (5th Cir. 2003) (per
curiam) (holding that the ALJ “specifically considered
the Newton factors” when the ALJ included a
discussion of the physician’s qualifications, number of
times he saw the claimant, and concluded that the
physician’s opinion was inconsistent with the record as
a whole); Jones v. Colvin, 638 Fed.Appx. 300, 304-05
(5th Cir. 2016) (per curiam).
requires only that the ALJ “consider” each of the
Section 404.1527(c) factors, the ALJ need not explicitly
recite each factor in the decision. 209 F.3d at 456; see
also Castro v. Colvin, No. 1:15-cv-1, 2017 WL 1086292,
at *1 (E.D. Tex. Mar. 21, 2017) (Crone, J.); Bryce v.
Colvin, No. 9:13-cv-28, 2014 WL 4078645, at *2-3 (E.D.
Tex. Aug. 15, 2014) (Clark, J.). Here such consideration was
evident: the ALJ recognized Dr. Benson as Plaintiff’s
treating physician; outlined each of Plaintiff’s
treatment visits and the total length of Dr. Benson’s
and Plaintiff’s treatment history; specifically
indicated that Dr. Benson’s treatment notes failed to
support his opinion that Plaintiff was disabled; and further
noted that Plaintiff took no medication, declined additional
treatment, and objective examinations were relatively normal
(Dkt. #14 at p. 17; TR pp. 19–22). Accordingly, the
Court overrules Plaintiff’s Objections.
considered Plaintiff’s Objections (Dkt. #15), all other
relevant filings, and having conducted a de novo review, the
Court adopts the Magistrate Judge’s Report and
Recommendation (Dkt. #14) as the findings and conclusions of
therefore, ORDERED that the decision of the
Commissioner is AFFIRMED.