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Nembhard v. Colvin

United States District Court, Second Circuit

May 20, 2013

RITA NEMBHARD, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MAURA A. KENNEDY-SMITH, ESQ. Shapiro, Kennedy-Smith Law Firm Ithaca, NY, for the Plaintiff.

JOANNE JACKSON Special Assistant U.S. Attorney HON. RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN United States Attorney Syracuse, NY, Steven P. Conte Regional Chief Counsel Social Security Administration Office of General Counsel, Region II New York, NY, for the Defendant.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

GARY L. SHARPE, Chief District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Rita Nembhard challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), seeking judicial review under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). ( See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Nembhard's arguments, the Commissioner's decision is affirmed and Nembhard's Complaint is dismissed.

II. Background

On November 19, 2008, Nembhard filed an application for SSI under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since June 30, 2000. ( See Tr.[1] at 61, 119-22.) After her application was denied, ( see id. at 62-67), Nembhard requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on August 18, 2010, ( see id. at 27-60, 68-70). On September 10, 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, 7-22.)

Nembhard commenced the present action by filing her Complaint on May 30, 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. 10, 11.)

III. Contentions

Nembhard contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. ( See Dkt. No. 10, Attach. 3 at 3-13.) Specifically, Nembhard claims that the ALJ: (1) improperly weighed the medical opinions of record; (2) erred in evaluating her credibility; (3) erred in relying on the testimony of a vocational expert (VE); and (4) rendered a determination that is unsupported by substantial evidence. ( 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. 11 at 3-12.)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. ( See Dkt. No. 10, Attach. 2 at 2-12; Dkt. No. 11 at 2.)

V. Standard of Review

The standard for reviewing the Commissioner's final decision under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)[2] 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. ...


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