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Clarence Henrey Ives, Jr v. Carolyn W. Colvin

May 15, 2013

CLARENCE HENREY IVES, JR., 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 Clarence Henrey Ives, Jr. challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB), seeking judicial review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Ives' arguments, the Commissioner's decision is reversed and remanded.

II. Background

On June 30, 2009, Ives filed an application for DIB under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since February 12, 2008. (See Tr.*fn2 at 50, 101-05.) After his application was denied, (see id. at 51-54), Ives requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on August 25, 2010, (see id. at 30-49, 57-58). On November 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 1-5, 14-29.)

Ives commenced the present action by filing his Complaint on March 15, 2012 wherein he 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. 5, 6.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (See Dkt. Nos. 9, 12.)

III. Contentions

Ives contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. (See Dkt. No. 9 at 11-24.) Specifically, Ives claims that the ALJ: (1) failed to follow the treating physician rule; (2) failed to consider all of his severe impairments; (3) improperly evaluated his obesity; (4) improperly evaluated his credibility; and (5) erred by relying on the Medical-Vocational Guidelines. (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 5-21.)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. (See Dkt. No. 9 at 1-10; Dkt. No. 12 at 1.)

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

Among several other arguments, Ives contends that the ALJ failed to consider all of his severe impairments. (See Dkt. No. 9 at 15-18.) According to Ives, both his mental impairments and headaches constitute severe impairments under the regulations. (See id.) The Commissioner counters that the ALJ's findings at step two of the ...


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