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Pamela M. Yates v. Commissioner of Social Security

February 22, 2011

PAMELA M. YATES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



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

(FJS)

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Pamela M. Yates brought this action pursuant to the Social Security Act (the "Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3), seeking judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the "Commissioner"), denying her application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits for lack of disability.

Currently before the Court are Plaintiff's and Defendant's cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings. See Dkt. Nos. 5, 6.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural history

Plaintiff filed applications for SSI and DIB on May 10, 2004. See Administrative Record ("AR") at 39-41, 43, 271-74. In her disability report, Plaintiff cited a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, fibromyalgia, and carpal tunnel syndrome as her limiting conditions. See id. at 47. The Social Security Administration denied Plaintiff's claim on July 28, 2004. See id. at 30. Plaintiff filed a timely request for a hearing on September 28, 2004, which was held before ALJ James S. Quinlivan, in Syracuse, New York, on June 13, 2005. See id. at 33, 289. Attorney Howard Olinsky represented Plaintiff, who appeared and testified. See id. at 289, 291. Jay Steinbrenner, a vocational expert ("VE"), also appeared and testified. See id. at 289, 308.

ALJ Quinlivan considered the case de novo and issued a written decision on November 23, 2005. See AR at 15-23. In his decision, the ALJ stated that he carefully considered the evidence in the record and made the following findings:

1) Plaintiff met the non-disability requirements for a period of disability and DIB, and was insured for benefits through the date of the ALJ's decision.

2) Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity ("SGA") since the alleged onset of the disability.

3) Plaintiff's fibromyalgia-type neck pains; cervical spine degenerative arthritis/disc herniation with carpal tunnel symptomology and diminished vision were considered "severe" based on the regulations.

4) These medically determinable impairments did not meet or medically equal one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (the "Listings").

5) Plaintiff's allegations regarding her limitations were not totally credible.

6) Plaintiff had the following residual functional capacity: lift/carry twenty pounds occasionally, and ten pounds frequently; occasionally push/pull with the upper extremities; no sustained overhead work; no job requiring the use of hand-held power tools; no work at unprotected heights; no work in the vicinity of heavy moving machinery; or otherwise exposure to excessive floor vibrations; no operation of mobile equipment; no commercial driving; no extensive writing or special operation of keyboards; occasional forceful gripping maneuvers; no exposure to temperature extremes; and no work in damp or humid conditions. Plaintiff should be permitted to wear corrective lenses as needed.

7) Plaintiff's past relevant work as a wallpaper/paint store clerk did not require the performance of work-related activities that her RFC precluded.

8) Plaintiff's medically determinable myofascial neck pains, cervical spine degenerative arthritis/disc herniation with carpal tunnel symptomology, and diminished vision do not prevent Plaintiff from performing her past relevant work.

9) Plaintiff was not under a "disability," as defined in the Act, at any time through the date of the ALJ's decision.

See AR at 22.

The ALJ's decision became the Commissioner's final decision on September 22, 2006, when the Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration denied Plaintiff's request for review. See AR at 4-6.

Plaintiff commenced this action on November 21, 2006, see Dkt. No. 1, and filed a supporting brief on March 22, 2007, see Dkt. No. 5. Defendant filed a ...


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