United States District Court, S.D. New York
February 20, 2004.
DEVersuslaw BARNES, Plaintiff, -against-, JO ANNE BARNHARD, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant
The opinion of the court was delivered by: VICTOR MARRERO, District Judge
DECISION AND ORDER
Pro Se plaintiff Delois Barnes ("Barnes"), claiming that she
has been disabled since February 2000 by reason of cardiac impairment,
filed this action seeking review of the decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security (the "Commissioner" or the "Government") finding that
Barnes was not disabled and therefore not entitled to Supplemental
Security Income ("SSI") benefits for disability under the Social Security
Act (the "Act"). The Commissioner moved for judgment on the pleadings.
By Order dated July 25, 2003 the Court granted Barnes's request to
extend to October 2, 2003 the date by which her response to the
Commissioner's motion was due. No timely response was filed. By Order
dated January 29, 2004 the Court advised Barnes that if no response to
the Commissioner's motion was made within twenty days of the Order
(February 18, 2004) the Court would proceed to consider the motion
unopposed and rule upon it on the basis of the existing record. Again,
no timely response was filed. Accordingly, the Court, having
reviewed Barnes's complaint, the administrative record filed by the
Commissioner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) as part of the
Government's answer, as well as the documents submitted by the
Commissioner in connection with the instant motion, grants the
Commissioner's motion for judgment on the pleadings.
Barnes was forty-six years old and had a tenth grade education
at the time the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") rendered a decision on
August 10, 2001 finding her not disabled. She was last employed as a hair
stylist and stopped working upon becoming ill. In February of 2000 Barnes
underwent surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital for her cardiac
condition. The medical evidence from numerous physical and psychiatric
examinations of Barnes during the following eighteen months, as well as
from evaluations of Barnes's medical records prepared by several
physicians, revealed no abnormalities and reported that Barnes's physical
and mental conditions were stable and that her abilities to walk, lift,
carry and perform routine activities of daily living were only mildly
The ALJ considered these various medical examinations and evaluations
in concluding that Barnes was not disabled within the meaning of the Act.
Moreover, at the administrative hearing on her application, Barnes
testified that she was
still capable of performing the functions of her past employment as
a hair stylist and in fact had filed applications in search of a job. The
ALJ denied her application for SSI benefits.
The Act provides that the "findings of the Commissioner as to any fact,
if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive."
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Substantial evidence "means such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion."
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971). Consequently,
the Commissioner's determination of ineligibility for SSI benefits must
be upheld if the Court finds that the record contains substantial
evidence supporting the decision, even where there may also be
substantial evidence in favor of the claimant. See DeChirico v.
Callahan, 134 F.3d 1177, 1182 (2d Cir. 1998); Alston v.
Sullivan, 904 F.2d 122, 126 (2d Cir. 1990); Rosado v.
Barnhart, 290 F. Supp.2d 431, 436 (S.D.N.Y. 2003).
Here, the ALJ reviewed Barnes's application in accordance with the five
step sequential evaluation established by the rules governing the
adjudication of disability claims. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.920;
DeChirico, 134 F.3d at 1179-80. The ALJ determined that
although Barnes was not working and classified
her cardiac condition as a severe impairment, the severity of such
impairment was not equal to those listed in Appendix 1 of 20 C.F.R. Part
404, Subpart P. Moreover, the ALJ concluded that, considering Barnes's
age, education and work experience, Barnes had residual functional
capacity to perform sedentary work of other jobs in the national economy,
even if not her past work as a hair stylist.
The Court finds substantial evidence in the record to sustain the ALJ's
determination. In support of his findings the ALJ relied upon the various
physical and mental examinations Barnes underwent, as well as the medical
reviews performed by several physicians confirming that Barnes was not
limited in any way sufficient to preclude her from performing relevant
sedentary work. The record also contains testimony by Barnes herself
indicating that she experienced no difficulties handling routine
functions of daily living and felt capable of performing her past work.
Accordingly, the Court affirms the Commissioner's decision and grants the
Government's motion for judgment on the pleadings.
For the reasons discussed above, it is hereby
ORDERED that the motion of defendant Commissioner of Social Security
for judgment on the pleadings is granted and
that the complaint of plaintiff Delois Barnes is dismissed.
The Clerk of Court is directed to close this case.
© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.