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Linda Lefever v. Michael J. Astrue

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT


October 25, 2011

LINDA LEFEVER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.

Appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (Norman A. Mordue, Chief Judge).

10-4796-cv

Lefever v. Astrue

SUMMARY ORDER

Rulings by summary order do not have precedential effect. Citation to a summary order filed on or after January 1, 2007, is permitted and is governed by Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1 and this court's Local Rule 32.1.1. When citing a summary order in a document filed with this court, a party must cite either the Federal Appendix or an electronic database (with the notation "summary order"). A party citing a summary order must serve a copy of it on any party not represented by counsel.

1 At a stated term of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, held at the 2 Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, in the City of New York, 3 on the 25th day of October, two thousand eleven.

5 PRESENT: 6 7 JOSE A. CABRANES, 8 DEBRA ANN LIVINGSTON, 9 DENNY CHIN, 10 Circuit Judges.

3 UPON DUE CONSIDERATION, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND 4 DECREED that the judgment of the District Court be AFFIRMED.

5 Plaintiff-appellant Linda Lefever appeals from a judgment of the District Court affirming a 6 decision of the Commissioner of Social Security Michael J. Astrue ("Commissioner"), and dismissing 7 Lefever's appeal therefrom. See Lefever v. Astrue, No. 5:07-CV-622, 2010 WL 3909487 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 8 30, 2010). We assume the parties' familiarity with the underlying facts and the procedural history of the 9 case.

10 This appeal arises out of an adverse decision of the Commissioner in which Lefever was found 11 to have not been under a disability prior to January 1, 2002,*fn1 and was thereby denied Disability 12 Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income under the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 301 et 13 seq., for the period of time between November 6, 1998, her alleged date of onset, and December 31, 14 2001. Lefever appealed the decision of the Commissioner by bringing a civil action in the District Court 15 for the Northern District of New York.

16 In the District Court, Lefever alleged that the Commissioner erred by failing to comply with an 17 order of remand issued by the Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration with regard to the 18 evaluation of Lefever's mental impairment; by improperly disregarding the opinions of several of 19 Lefever's treating physicians in violation of the Treating Physician Rule; by failing to develop the record 20 and thereby making an erroneous Residual Functional Capacity finding that was not supported by 21 substantial evidence; and by overlooking Lefever's significant non-exertional limitations at step five of 22 the Social Security Administration's five-step test for disability*fn2 by relying on the Medical-Vocational 23 Rules rather than introducing the testimony of a vocational expert.

The District Court rejected each assignment of error, except for Lefever's allegation that the 2 Commissioner should not have given controlling weight to the observations of Dr. Ganesh, a State 3 Agency Review Physician, with which the court agreed. The court determined, however, that a correct 4 assessment of Dr. Ganesh's evidence would not change the outcome of Lefever's appeal, and therefore 5 denied relief on that ground as well.

6 This appeal followed. On appeal, Lefever again raises each of the issues she raised before the 7 District Court.

8 Having conducted an independent review of the decision of the Commissioner, as well as of the 9 administrative record, we find no error in the District Court's affirmance of the Commissioner's 10 determination that Lefever was not disabled prior to January 1, 2002. Therefore, we AFFIRM the 11 judgment on appeal for substantially the same reasons stated by the District Court in its thorough and 12 well-reasoned Memorandum and Order of September 30, 2010.

FOR THE COURT,

Catherine O'Hagan Wolfe, Clerk of Court


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