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Sharon Penfield v. Carolyn W. Colvin

April 16, 2013

SHARON PENFIELD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,*FN1 DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Sharon Penfield challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of her claim for a period of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB), seeking judicial review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).*fn2 (See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Penfield's arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the Complaint.

II. Background

On October 29, 2008 Penfield filed an application for DIB under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since November 24, 2000. (See Tr.*fn3 at 55, 118-24.) After her application was denied, (see id. at 56-61), Penfield requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on August 4, 2010, (see id. at 62, 29-54.) On September 3, 2010, the ALJ issued an unfavorable 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. at 1-4, 7-23.)

Penfield commenced the present action by filing her Complaint on April 13, 2012 wherein she sought review of the Commissioner's determination. (See generally Compl.) The Commissioner filed an answer and a certified copy of the administrative transcript. (See Dkt. Nos. 7, 8.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (See Dkt. Nos. 11, 12.)

III. Contentions

Penfield contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. (See Dkt. No. 11 at 13-20.) Specifically, Penfield claims that the ALJ: (1) improperly assessed the medical opinions of record; and (2) erred in evaluating her credibility. (See id.) The Commissioner counters that the appropriate legal standards were used by the ALJ and his decision is also supported by substantial evidence. (See Dkt. No. 12 at 4-13 .)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. (See Dkt. No. 11 at 4-13; Dkt. No. 12 at 2.)

V. Standard of Review

The standard for reviewing the Commissioner's final decision under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) is well established and will not be repeated here. For a full discussion of the standard and the five-step process by which the Commissioner evaluates whether a claimant is disabled under the Act, the court refers the parties to its previous decision in Christiana v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec. Admin., No. 1:05-CV-932, 2008 WL 759076, at *1-2 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 19, 2008).

VI. Discussion

A. Weighing Medical ...


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