PETER A. GORTON, ESQ., LACHMAN & GORTON, Endicott, NY, Attorneys for Plaintiff.
JEREMY A. LINDEN, ESQ., OFFICE OF REGIONAL GENERAL COUNSEL, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION REGION II, New York, NY, Attorneys for Defendant.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER,
DAVID N. HURD, District Judge.
Plaintiff James Haynes ("Haynes" or "plaintiff") brings this action pursuant to §§ 205(g) and 1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) & 1383(c)(3), to review a final determination of the defendant Commissioner of Social Security denying his application for Social Security Disability ("SSD") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI"). The parties have filed their briefs, including the Administrative Record on Appeal, and the matter has been submitted for decision without oral argument.
Haynes filed an application for SSD and SSI on January 19, 2010, claiming a period of disability beginning on August 30, 2009. His claims were denied on March 8, 2010. Upon plaintiff's request, a hearing was conducted by video before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") on December 7, 2010. The ALJ rendered a decision on February 9, 2011, finding that plaintiff was not disabled during the relevant time period and denying his claims. Plaintiff appealed the ALJ's decision to the Appeals Council. On May 11, 2012, the Appeals Council issued an order denying his request for review. Thus, the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner.
Plaintiff filed this action on June 5, 2012. The parties' familiarity with the facts is assumed, and they will therefore only be developed as necessary in the analysis.
A. Standard of Review
The scope of a court's review of the Commissioner's final decision is limited to determinating whether the decision is supported by substantial evidence and the correct legal standards were applied. Poupore v. Astrue , 566 F.3d 303, 305 (2d Cir. 2009) (per curiam). "Substantial evidence means more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.'" Id . (quoting Consol. Edison Co. v. NLRB , 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)).
"To determine on appeal whether an ALJ's findings are supported by substantial evidence, a reviewing court considers the whole record, examining the evidence from both sides, because an analysis of the substantiality of the evidence must also include that which detracts from its weight." Williams v. Bowen , 859 F.2d 255, 258 (2d Cir. 1988) (citing Universal Camera Corp. v. NLRB , 340 U.S. 474, 488 (1951)). If the Commissioner's disability determination is supported by substantial evidence, that determination is conclusive. Id . Where evidence is deemed susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the Commissioner's decision must be upheld-even if the court's independent review of the evidence may differ from the Commissioner's. See Rutherford v. Schweiker , 685 F.2d 60, 62 (2d Cir. 1982); Rosado v. Sullivan , 805 F.Supp. 147, 153 (S.D.N.Y. 1992).
However, "where there is a reasonable basis for doubting whether the Commissioner applied the appropriate legal standards, " the decision should not be affirmed even though the ultimate conclusion reached is arguably supported by substantial evidence. Martone v. Apfel , 70 F.Supp.2d 145, 148 ...