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Parker v. Colvin

United States District Court, Second Circuit

October 18, 2013

LORI A. PARKER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

EUGENE D. FAUGHNAN, ESQ., Hinman, Howard Law Firm, Binghamton, NY, for the plaintiff.

ANDREEA L. LECHLEITNER, 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 Lori A. Parker challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB), seeking judicial review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Parker's arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the complaint.

II. Background

On September 20, 2005, Parker filed an application for DIB under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since January 27, 1997. (Tr.[1] at 41-43, 52.) After her application was denied, ( id. at 19-22), Parker requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on March 13, 2008 before ALJ John Farley, ( id. at 23, 612-26). Subsequently, ALJ Farley issued an unfavorable decision denying the requested benefits. ( Id. at 8-16.) After the Appeals Council's subsequent denial of review, Parker commenced an action in Federal District Court. ( Id. at 4-7, 660-62.) Thereafter, this court accepted in its entirety a Report and Recommendation (R&R) filed February 22, 2011, recommending that the Commissioner's decision be remanded for further administrative proceedings. ( Id. at 660-80.) Thereafter, the Appeals Council remanded the case to ALJ Elizabeth Koennecke (hereinafter "the ALJ") who again denied Parker's claim. ( Id. at 643-55.) This became the Commissioner's final determination upon the Appeals Council's denial of review. ( Id. at 481-83.)

Parker commenced the present action by filing her complaint on August 15, 2012 wherein she sought review of the Commissioner's determination. (Compl.) The Commissioner filed an answer and a certified copy of the administrative transcript. (Dkt. Nos. 4, 5.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (Dkt. Nos. 7, 8.)

III. Contentions

Parker contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No. 7 at 10-24.) Specifically, Parker claims that: (1) the ALJ failed to properly apply the treating physician rule; (2) the residual functional capacity (RFC) determination is not supported by substantial evidence; and (3) the ALJ improperly applied the Medical-Vocational Guidelines at step five. ( Id. ) The Commissioner counters that the appropriate legal standards were used by the ALJ and her decision is also supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No. 8 at 4-13.)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. (Dkt. No. 7 at 5-9; Dkt. No. 8 at 2.)

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. ...


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