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Churchill v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, Second Circuit

December 4, 2013

JODIE CHURCHILL, o/b/o ZWC, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

PETER M. MARGOLIUS, ESQ., Office of Peter M. Margolius, Catskill, NY, for the Plaintiff.

SANDRA M. GROSSFELD, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, 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 Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Jodie Churchill o/b/o ZWC, challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), seeking judicial review under 42 U.S.C. ยง 405(g). (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering the arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the complaint.

II. Background

On September 18, 2009, Churchill protectively filed an application for

SSI under the Social Security Act ("Act") on behalf of her minor son ZWC, alleging disability since October 9, 1998. (Tr.[1] at 43, 92-94.) After the application was denied, Churchill requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on January 20, 2011. ( Id. at 28-42, 44-48.) On April 8, 2011, the ALJ issued a decision denying the requested benefits, which became the Commissioner's final decision upon the Social Security Administration Appeals Council's denial of review. ( Id. at 1-4, 13-27.)

Churchill commenced the present action by filing a complaint on July 12, 2012, seeking review of the Commissioner's determination. (Compl.) The Commissioner filed an answer and a certified copy of the administrative transcript. (Dkt. Nos. 8, 9.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (Dkt. Nos. 11, 17.)

III. Contentions

Churchill avers that the Commissioner's decision is not supported by substantial evidence and was arrived at through the application of incorrect legal standards. (Dkt. No. 11 at 3-6.)[2] Specifically, Churchill contends that the ALJ erred in: (1) deciding that ZWC's impairments did not functionally equal a listed impairment; and (2) failing to develop the record. ( Id. ) The Commissioner counters that the appropriate legal standards were used by the ALJ and his decision is supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No. 17 at 2-9.)

IV. Facts

The evidence in this case is undisputed and the court adopts the parties' factual recitations. ( ...


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