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James J. v. Michael J. Astrue

February 3, 2011

JAMES J. DEELEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff James J. Deeley brought this action pursuant to the Social Security Act ("the Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the "Commissioner"), denying his application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB"). See Dkt. No. 1.

Currently before this Court are Plaintiff's and Defendant's cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. See generally Dkt. Nos. 13, 17.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, then sixty-two, filed an application for DIB on June 8, 2005. See Administrative Record ("AR") at 45. In his disability report, Plaintiff cited a back disorder, arthritis, and breathing difficulties as his disabling conditions. See id. at 59. The Social Security Administration denied his application on August 24, 2005. See id. at 22. Plaintiff filed a timely request for a hearing on September 6, 2005, which was held before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") J. Michael Brounoff, in Utica, New York, on April 3, 2007. See id. at 26, 225. Attorney Peter Antonowicz represented Plaintiff, who appeared and testified. See id. at 225, 229.

ALJ Brounoff considered the case de novo and issued a written decision denying Plaintiff's application on August 31, 2007. See AR at 12-19. In his decision, ALJ Brounoff stated that he carefully considered the evidence in the record and made the following findings:

1) Plaintiff meets the insured status requirements of the Act through March 31, 2007.

2) Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity ("SGA") since January 18, 2002, the alleged onset date.

3) The medical evidence does not establish any medically determinable impairment prior to December 9, 2004, as there is no medical evidence prior to that date.

4) Beginning December 9, 2004, Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ("COPD"), degenerative arthritis of the left knee and degenerative disc disease of the lumbar and cervical spine.

5) Plaintiff does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (the "Listings").

6) Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to lift or carry twenty pounds occasionally, to stand three hours in an eight-hour workday, walk three hours in an eight-hour workday, sit without limitation, push and pull twenty pounds occasionally and occasionally climb. Plaintiff must avoid exposure to dust, fumes, and odors.

7) Plaintiff is capable of performing his past relevant work as a truck driver. This work does not require the performance of work related activities that Plaintiff's RFC precludes.

8) Plaintiff has not been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from January 18, 2002, through the date ...


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