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Lloyd v. Commissioner of Social Security

April 18, 2008

TREYLEN V. LLOYD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Neal P. McCURN, Senior U.S. District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM - DECISION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Treylen V. Lloyd ("plaintiff") brings this action pursuant 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) of the Social Security Act (the "Act"), seeking review of the final decision of the defendant Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("Commissioner") denying plaintiff's claim for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits under Title XVI of the Act. For the reasons stated below, the Commissioner's decision will be affirmed.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A. Facts

Neither the plaintiff nor the Commissioner included the facts of the case in their respective briefs. The court accepts the facts as stated in the ALJ's decision and supported by the administrative transcript, and only reiterates such facts here as are necessary for the purpose of this decision. Briefly, plaintiff was born on August 23, 1993, and at the time of the ALJ's decision was ten years old. Plaintiff was enrolled in special education classes in the fourth grade. It is undisputed that plaintiff had an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ("ADHD"), a speech and language disorder, and a learning disorder.

B. Procedural History

Through his mother, Christina Lewis, plaintiff filed an application for SSI benefits on October 3, 2002.*fn1 Tr. 52-55*fn2 . This application was initially denied. On December 27, 2002, plaintiff filed a timely request for a hearing. (Doc. No. 6).

On April 30, 2004, a hearing was held in Albany, New York, before Administrative Law Judge Robert Wright (the "ALJ"). In a decision rendered May 24, 2004, the ALJ found that the plaintiff had not been under a disability as defined in the Act at any time through the date of the ALJ's decision.

On June 11, 2004, plaintiff requested a review of the unfavorable decision by the Appeals Council, and submitted a letter format brief to said Council on December 15, 2004. Plaintiff's request for review was denied on December 29, 2004. Plaintiff's civil action was filed in this court on February 22, 2005.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

This court does not review a final decision of the Commissioner de novo, but instead "must determine whether the correct legal standards were applied and whether substantial evidence supports the decision." Butts v. Barnhart, 388 F.3d 377, 384 (2d Cir. 2004) (internal citations omitted). See also Halloran v. Barnhart, 362 F.3d 28, 31 (2d Cir. 2004); Balsamo v. Chater, 142 F.3d 75, 79 (2d Cir. 1998). "Substantial evidence" is evidence that amounts to "more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Halloran, 362 F.3d at 31 (quoting Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S.Ct. 1420 (1971)). "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." Gravel v. Barnhart, 360 F.Supp.2d 442, 444-45 (N.D.N.Y. 2005) (citing Ferraris v. Heckler, 728 F.2d 582, 587 (2d Cir. 1984)). "Failure to apply the correct legal standards is grounds for reversal." Pollard v. Halter, 377 F.3d 183, 189 (2d Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

When reviewing a determination by the Commissioner, a district court, in its discretion, "shall have the power to enter, upon the pleadings and transcript of record, a judgment affirming, modifying, or reversing the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security, with or without remanding the cause for a rehearing." 42 U.S.C. ยง 405(g). "The Act must be liberally applied, for it is a ...


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