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Banks v. Colvin

United States District Court, Second Circuit

August 16, 2013

CARRIE BANKS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

HOWARD D. OLINSKY, ESQ., Olinsky Law Group. Syracuse, NY, TANISHA T. BRAMWELL, ESQ., Rosicki, Rosicki Law Firm, Batavia, NY, for the plaintiff.

ELIZABETH D. ROTHSTEIN, DAVID L. BROWN, Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, 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 Carrie Banks 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. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). ( See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Banks' arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the Complaint.

II. Background

On August 5, 2009, Banks filed applications for DIB and SSI under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since July 15, 2004. ( See Tr.[1] at 75-76, 154-63.) After her applications were denied, ( see id. at 77-82), Banks requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on March 25, 2011, ( see id. at 40-74, 83). On June 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 1-6, 17-35.)

Banks commenced the present action by filing her Complaint on April 6, 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, 14.)

III. Contentions

Banks contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. ( See Dkt. No. 11 at 13-22.) Specifically, Banks claims that the ALJ: (1) erred in determining her residual functional capacity (RFC); (2) improperly evaluated her credibility; and (3) rendered a step five determination that is unsupported by substantial evidence and the product of legal error. ( 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. 14 at 12-22.)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. ( See Dkt. No. 11 at 2-11; Dkt. No. 14 at 2-9.)

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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