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Reynolds v. Colvin

United States District Court, Second Circuit

June 18, 2013

GERALD REYNOLDS, as husband of NIKI REYNOLDS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, [1] Defendant.

FOR THE PLAINTIFF: PETER A. GORTON, ESQ., Lachman, Gorton Law Firm, Endicott, NY

FOR THE DEFENDANT: ELIZABETH D. ROTHSTEIN 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.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

GARY L. SHARPE, Chief District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Gerald Reynolds, as husband of Niki Reynolds (hereinafter "claimant"), challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB), [2] seeking judicial review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). ( See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.)[3] After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Reynold's arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the Complaint.

II. Background

On May 7, 2010, claimant filed an application for DIB under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since June 21, 2001. ( See Tr.[4] at 47, 96-97.) After her application was denied, ( see id. at 48-51), claimant requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on March 24, 2011, ( see id. at 20-46, 54). On April 12, 2011, 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 1-19.)

Claimant commenced the present action by filing a Complaint on May 23, 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. 8, 9.) Claimant died on November 22, 2012, while her appeal was pending before this court. ( See Dkt. No. 13 at 2.) On December 18, 2012, Reynolds was substituted for claimant pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 404.503(b). Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. ( See Dkt. Nos. 12, 17.)

III. Contentions

Reynolds contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. ( See Dkt. No. 12 at 7-15.) Specifically, Reynolds claims that the ALJ improperly: (1) assessed the opinions of claimant's treating sources; (2) evaluated claimant's credibility; and (3) failed to consider all of claimant's severe impairments and their effects on claimant's ability to work, separately or in combination. ( See id. ) The Commissioner counters that the appropriate legal standards were used by the ALJ and her decision is also supported by substantial evidence. ( See Dkt. No. 17 at 5-17.)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. ( See Dkt. No. 12 at ...


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