Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

CROWE v. COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY

July 20, 2004.

DIANE M. CROWE, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GARY SHARPE, Magistrate Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

I. Introduction

  Diane Crowe alleges that back and neck pain, headaches, and dizziness have disabled her, and challenges the denial of disability benefits by the Commissioner of Social Security. Having reviewed the administrative record, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision.

  II. Procedural History

  After Crowe filed for disability benefits in April 2000, her application was denied, and a hearing was conducted by Administrative Law Judge John Lischak (ALJ). In May 2001, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits, which became the Commissioner's final determination when the Appeals Council denied review on September 7, 2001.

  On October 17, 2001, Crowe brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking review of the Commissioner's final determination. The Commissioner then filed an answer and a certified administrative transcript, Crowe filed a brief, and the Commissioner responded.

  III. Contentions

  Crowe contends that the Commissioner's decision is not supported by substantial evidence and erroneous as a matter of law. Crowe claims the ALJ improperly: (1) disregarded the opinion of her treating physician;*fn1 (2) relied on the opinions of examining (but non-treating) physicians in determining her residual functional capacity (RFC); (3) failed to consider her "non-exertional impairments;" and (4) failed to obtain vocational expert testimony with respect to her occupational base. The Commissioner counters that substantial evidence supports the ALJ's decision that Crowe was not disabled.

  IV. Facts

  The evidence in this case is undisputed and the court incorporates the parties' factual recitations. See Pl.'s Br., pp. 2-5,*fn2 Dkt. No. 8; Def.'s Br., pp. 2-9, Dkt. No. 11.

  V. Discussion

  A. Standard and Scope of Review

  When reviewing the Commissioner's final decision, the court must determine whether the correct legal standards were applied and whether substantial evidence supports the decision. Urtz v. Callahan, 965 F. Supp. 324, 326 (N.D.N.Y. 1997) (citing Johnson v. Bowen, 817 F.2d 983, 985 (2d Cir. 1987)). Although the Commissioner is ultimately responsible for determining a claimant's eligibility, the actual disability determination is made by an ALJ, and that decision is subject to judicial review on appeal. A court may not affirm an ALJ's decision if it reasonably doubts whether the proper legal standards were applied, even if it appears to be supported by substantial evidence. Johnson, 817 F.2d at 986. In addition, an ALJ must set forth the crucial factors justifying his findings with sufficient specificity to allow a court to determine whether substantial evidence supports the decision. Ferraris v. Heckler, 728 F.2d 582, 587 (2d Cir. 1984).

  A court's factual review of the Commissioner's decision is limited to the determination of whether substantial evidence in the record supports the decision. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); see Rivera v. Sullivan, 923 F.2d 964, 967 (2d Cir. 1991). "Substantial evidence has been defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Williams ex rel Williams v. Bowen, 859 F.2d 255, 258 (2d Cir. 1988) (citations omitted). It must be "more than a mere scintilla" of evidence scattered throughout the administrative record. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)); Alston v. Sullivan, 904 F.2d 122, 126 (2d Cir. 1990). "To determine on appeal whether an ALJ's findings are supported by substantial evidence, a reviewing court considers the whole record, examining the evidence from both sides because an analysis of the substantiality of the evidence must also include that which detracts from its weight." Williams, 859 F.2d at 258. However, a reviewing court cannot ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.