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GRUBB v. CHATER

January 27, 1998

CHARISSE GRUBB, Plaintiff,
v.
SHIRLEY S. CHATER, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BAER

 Hon. Harold Baer, Jr., District Judge:1

 Plaintiff Charisse Grubb brought this action under Sections 205(g) and 1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3), to challenge the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("the Commissioner"). Defendant moves pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("Rule 12(c)") for an order affirming the decision of the Commissioner and dismissing the complaint. For the reasons stated below, this Court finds that the Commissioner's decision is not supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, the defendant's motion is denied and this case is reversed and remanded to the Commissioner solely for calculation of benefits.

 I. PRIOR PROCEEDINGS

 Plaintiff filed an application for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits on August 4, 1993. Plaintiff's application was denied, as was her request for reconsideration. Plaintiff subsequently requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). On December 6, 1994, a hearing was held at which time the ALJ considered the case de novo and on April 26, 1995, the ALJ found that the plaintiff was not under a disability. The Appeals Council denied the plaintiff's request for review on February 9, 1996, at which time the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner. On May 6, 1996, the plaintiff filed the instant complaint and a full year later the defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) was sub judice before this Court. Thus, it took nearly four years after plaintiff applied for benefits until her case was before this Court. Before a decision was rendered, an attorney from the Legal Aid Society, Bronx, New York, asked for more time due to their prospective entry into the case. I approved that request, but they eventually chose not to represent the plaintiff. This case represents just one more sad saga by a powerless New Yorker who, while ill and without legal assistance, has attempted to traverse the bureaucratic maze built by the Social Security Administration. See also, Reiman v. Chater, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19736, 1997 WL 773714 (S.D.N.Y. December 12, 1997)(Baer, J.).

 II. STATEMENT OF FACTS

 A. Non-Medical Evidence

 Plaintiff was twenty-five years old at the time of the hearing. Her last year of education was the completion of ninth grade, and her last date of employment was in 1991, when she worked as a clerk. Plaintiff sustained this job for three weeks, after which she was terminated due to tardiness and absenteeism, which she claims was related to fatigue. Plaintiff suffers from uncontrolled Type I diabetes, which frequently causes a person to be overweight. Here plaintiff weighs 177 pounds and suffers from migraine headaches, the need for excessive sleep, frequent urination and back and leg pain. Plaintiff sometimes takes walks, but gets tired quickly and has difficulty climbing stairs. She also attends church two to three times a month. Plaintiff occasionally needs assistance putting on her pants when her leg is "dead." At home, plaintiff does dishes, listens to music and watches television. Plaintiff's mother takes care of the cleaning in her apartment and makes meals for her. Plaintiff travels by cab, but cannot travel by public transportation. R. at 20-29. *fn2"

 B. Medical Evidence

 Plaintiff was seen at the Endocrine Clinic of Harlem Hospital on October 6, 1992. At that time plaintiff had been diagnosed with Type I, Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus ("IDDM"). Regular and NPH Insulin were prescribed. Plaintiff filed an application for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits on August 4, 1993. On August 13, 1993, in connection with the plaintiff's application, Dr. Newsome from Harlem Hospital summarized plaintiff's condition in a letter, stating that she had been a patient at the Medical Clinic for three years and had been a diabetic since she was thirteen years old. R. at 67.

 On October 6, 1993, a Dr. Grossman examined plaintiff at the request of the Social Security Administration ("SSA"). Plaintiff indicated several physical ailments she suffered from, including numbness and dizziness. Dr. Grossman stated that her range of motion of her lumbar and cervical spine were within normal limits, and that she had full range of motion in her joints. He diagnosed plaintiff with diabetes mellitus and opined that she had no gross evidence for functional impairment at the examination. R. at 68-70.

 Dr. Newsome summarized his evaluation of plaintiff on October 28, 1994, at the request of the SSA. In his report, Dr. Newsome diagnosed plaintiff as having diabetes mellitus and hyperglycemia; he reported that plaintiff suffered from general weakness and urinary frequency and that her blood glucose level was elevated. He indicated that plaintiff was receiving insulin therapy for her diabetes. Dr. Newsome stated that plaintiff could sit for eight hours, but could not stand or walk continuously and that plaintiff was unable to lift anything. He stated that plaintiff could travel by cab, but not by bus or subway. Dr. Newsome further stated that in his opinion, plaintiff was temporarily disabled until her diabetes was "well controlled," which he estimated to be about two months. R. 98-104.

 On January 20, 1995, after plaintiff's hearing before the ALJ, Dr. Newsome added in a letter that plaintiff was being treated for "severely difficult to control diabetes mellitus." Dr. Newsome stated that plaintiff would require visits for chronic menstruation disorder as well as diabetes. He indicated that plaintiff was still temporarily and partially disabled and that she therefore was in need of social security benefits. R. at 111. In a subsequent letter, dated March 10, 1995, Dr. Newsome again stated that plaintiff was still under his care for poorly controlled ...


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