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Catherine L. Kaminski v. Commissioner of Social Security


March 15, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary L. Sharpe Chief Judge


I. Introduction

Plaintiff Catherine L. Kaminski challenges defendant Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), seeking review under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). (See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) In a Report-Recommendation (R&R) filed February 21, 2012, Magistrate Judge Victor E. Bianchini recommended that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed and Kaminski's complaint dismissed.*fn1

(See R&R, Dkt. No. 20.) Pending are Kaminski's objections to the R&R. (See Dkt. No. 21.) For the reasons that follow, the court adopts the R&R in its entirety.

II. Background*fn2

On April 17, 2006, Kaminski filed an application for SSI under the Social Security Act. (See R&R at 2.) After her application was denied, Kaminski requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on June 23, 2008. (See id.) On September 16, 2008, the ALJ issued a decision denying the requested benefits, which became the Commissioner's final determination upon the Social Security Administration Appeals Council's denial of review. (See id.)

Kominski commenced the present action by filing a complaint on June 5, 2009, seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's determination. (See Compl.) After receiving the parties' briefs, Judge Bianchini issued an R&R recommending dismissal of Kaminski's complaint. (See generally R&R.)

III. Standard of Review

By statute and rule, district courts are authorized to refer social security appeals to magistrate judges for proposed findings and recommendations as to disposition. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), (B); N.D.N.Y. L.R. 40.1, 72.3(d); General Order No. 18. Before entering final judgment, this court reviews report and recommendation orders in cases it has referred to a magistrate judge. If a party properly objects to a specific element of the magistrate judge's findings and recommendations, this court reviews those findings and recommendations de novo. See Almonte v. N.Y. State Div. of Parole, No. Civ. 904CV484GLS, 2006 WL 149049, at *3, *5 (N.D.N.Y. Jan. 18, 2006). In cases where no party has filed an objection, only vague or general objections are made, or a party resubmits the same papers and arguments already considered by the magistrate judge, this court reviews the findings and recommendations of the magistrate judge for clear error. See id. at *4-5.

IV. Discussion

Kaminski purports to object to the R&R on two grounds. First, she asserts that Judge Bianchini improperly evaluated the medical evidence regarding her mental functional limitations and, second, she "objects to the failure of the Commissioner to make specific findings as to the functional limitations imposed on [her] by her diabetes." (Dkt. No. 21 at 2-5.) The substance of both arguments, however, was previously raised in Kaminski's brief and considered and rejected by Judge Bianchini. (See Dkt. No. 11 at 7-11; R&R at 9-17.) Kaminski's "objections," therefore, are general and do not warrant de novo review. See Almonte, 2006 WL 149049 at *4. The court, having carefully reviewed the record, finds no clear error in the R&R and accepts and adopts it in its entirety.

V. Conclusion

WHEREFORE, for the foregoing reasons, it is hereby

ORDERED that Magistrate Judge Victor E. Bianchini's February 21, 2012 Report-Recommendation and Order (Dkt. No. 20) is ADOPTED in its entirety; and it is further

ORDERED that the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED and Kaminski's Complaint (Dkt. No. 1) is DISMISSED; and it is further

ORDERED that the Clerk close this case; and it is further ORDERED that the Clerk provide a copy of this Memorandum-Decision and Order to the parties.


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