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.

Stenoski v. Commissioner of Social Security

March 16, 2010

ALONZO J. STENOSKI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scullin, Senior Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Currently before the Court are Magistrate Judge Bianchini's July 23, 2009 Report and Recommendation and Plaintiff's objections thereto. See Dkt. Nos. 16-17.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff applied for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits on January 20, 2004, alleging that she had been unable to work since August 1, 2001. See Administrative Record ("AR") at 72. Plaintiff complained of diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder ("COPD"), arthritis, depression, anxiety and other related mental conditions. See Plaintiff's Brief at 9-11. Defendant denied that application on March 22, 2004. See AR at 33. Although Plaintiff filed an untimely request for a hearing, see id. at 38-39, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") determined that Plaintiff had shown good cause for doing so, see id. at 40; and, therefore, the ALJ granted Plaintiff's request and held a hearing on October 26, 2005, see id. at 419-61.

On December 12, 2005, the ALJ issued a written decision denying Plaintiff's application for benefits. See id. at 18-30. The ALJ's decision became Defendant's final decision on May 14, 2007, when the Social Security Administration's Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for a review. See id. at 6.

Plaintiff commenced this action on May 23, 2007. See Dkt. No. 1. Plaintiff filed a supporting brief on September 17, 2007, see Dkt. No. 8; and Defendant filed a brief in opposition on January 4, 2008, see Dkt. No. 13.

After reviewing the parties' submissions, Magistrate Judge Bianchini issued a Report and Recommendation on July 23, 2009, in which he recommended that this Court (1) grant Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings, (2) deny Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings, and (3) affirm Defendant's final decision to deny Plaintiff's application for benefits. See Dkt. No. 16 at 22.

In response to Magistrate Judge Bianchini's Report and Recommendation, Plaintiff filed objections. See, generally, Dkt. No. 17. Specifically, Plaintiff asserted "that the ALJ did not adhere to the special technique requirements to appropriately determine the extent and impact of Depression and Anxiety." See id. at ¶ 1. Plaintiff also claimed that it was improper for the ALJ to find "that Plaintiff could perform her past relevant work as a binder operator and bus aide." See id. at ¶ 2.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

In reviewing the Commissioner's final decision, a court must determine whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards and whether there is substantial evidence in the record as a whole to support the decision. See Rosado v. Sullivan, 805 F. Supp. 147, 153 (S.D.N.Y. 1992) (citing Johnson v. Bowen, 817 F.2d 983, 985 (2d Cir. 1987)) (other citations omitted). A reviewing court, however, may not affirm an ALJ's decision if it reasonably doubts that the ALJ applied the proper legal standards even if it appears that there is substantial evidence to support that decision. See Johnson v. Bowen, 817 F.2d 983, 986 (2d Cir. 1987). 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 his decision. See Ferraris v. Heckler, 728 F.2d 582, 587 (2d Cir. 1984) (citation omitted).

A court's factual review of the Commissioner's final decision is limited to the determination of whether there is substantial evidence in the record to support that decision. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Rivera v. Sullivan, 923 F.2d 964, 967 (2d Cir. 1991) (citations omitted). "Substantial evidence has been defined as 'such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion....'" Williams on behalf of Williams v. Bowen, 859 F.2d 255, 258 (2d Cir. 1988) (quotation omitted). "It is more than a mere scintilla or a touch of proof here and there in the record." Id.

"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." Id. (citations omitted). "However, a reviewing court cannot substitute its interpretation of the administrative record for that of the Commissioner if the record contains substantial support for the ...


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.