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Coates v. Colvin

United States District Court, Second Circuit

June 19, 2013

DIANA COATES, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, [1] Defendant.

HOWARD D. OLINSKY, ESQ., Olinsky Law Group, Syracuse, NY, for the Plaintiff.

ELIZABETH D. ROTHSTEIN, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, HON. RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN, United States Attorney, Syracuse, NY, for the Defendant.

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 Diana Coates challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), seeking judicial review under 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). ( See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Coates' arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the Complaint.

II. Background

On July 21, 2009 Coates filed applications for DIB and SSI under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since August 1, 2004. ( See Tr.[2] at 106-07, 213-19.) After her application was denied, ( see id. at 125-32), Coates requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on December 1, 2010, ( see id. at 66-105, 133-34). During the hearing, Coates amended her alleged onset date of disability to November 5, 2008, the date following the denial of her previous applications for DIB and SSI. ( See id. at 18, 69, 110-24.) On January 13, 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 1-7, 15-31.)

Coates commenced the present action by filing her Complaint on August 28, 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.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. ( See Dkt. Nos. 12, 15.)

III. Contentions

Coates contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. ( See Dkt. No. 12 at 12-21.) Specifically, Coates claims that the ALJ erred in: (1) weighing the opinion evidence; (2) improperly assessing her credibility; and (3) finding that she could perform other work in the national economy. ( 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. 15 at 15-25.)

IV. Facts

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


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