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Fonseca v. Colvin

United States District Court, Second Circuit

January 28, 2014

LOURDES FONSECA, Petitioner,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social: Security, Respondent.

ORDER ADOPTING REPORT & RECOMMENDATION

PAUL A. ENGELMAYER, District Judge.

Plaintiff Lourdes Fonseca ("Fonseca") brings this action pursuant to § 205(g) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying her application for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits. On May 15, 2013, defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner"), moved for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). On July 23, 2013, Fonseca cross-moved for judgment on the pleadings. Before the Court is the September 4, 2013 Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV ("Report"), recommending that the Court grant the Commissioner's motion and deny plaintiff's motion. For the reasons that follow, the Court adopts the Report in full.

I. Background[1]

On May 17, 1993, Fonseca filed an application for SSI benefits, which was denied. Fonseca timely requested and was granted a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). On March 10, 1994, the ALJ conducted a hearing. On April 4, 1994, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Fonseca was not disabled and thus not entitled to benefits. On August 5, 1994, the Appeals Council denied Fonseca's request for review.

Fonseca then commenced an action in this Court. See Fonseca v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., No. 94 Civ. 6901 (S.D.N.Y.). By stipulation and order entered on February 7, 1996, the Court remanded the case to the Commissioner for further administrative proceedings. On remand, the ALJ considered the case de novo, and, on February 13, 1997, issued a decision finding that Fonseca was not disabled and thus not entitled to benefits. On May 31, 1997, the Appeals Council denied Fonseca's request for review as untimely.

On May 25, 2010, the Commissioner filed a supplemental certified administrative record. See Fonseca, No. 94 Civ. 6901 (Dkt. 18). By stipulation and order dated July 13, 2010, the Court again remanded the case to the Commissioner for further administrative proceedings. Id. (Dkt. 20).

On July 25, 2011, a hearing was held before the ALJ. On August 25, 2011, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Fonseca was not disabled during the relevant time period and denying her benefits. On June 25, 2012, the Appeals Council declined to review the ALJ's decision.

Fonseca then commenced the present action. On July 17, 2012, Fonseca, proceeding pro se, filed the Complaint. Dkt. 2. On August 14, 2012, the Court referred the case to Magistrate Judge Francis. Dkt. 6. On January 8, 2013, the Commissioner answered. Dkt. 11. On May 15, 2013, the Commissioner filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, Dkt. 17, and a supporting memorandum of law, Dkt. 18. On June 22, 2012, Fonseca, now represented by counsel, filed a cross-motion for judgment on the pleadings, Dkt. 21, and a supporting memorandum of law, Dkt. 22 ("Fonseca Br."). On August 5, 2013, the Commissioner filed a reply brief. Dkt. 24.

On September 4, 2013, Judge Francis issued the Report. Dkt. 25. On September 25, 2013, Fonseca filed objections to the Report. Dkt. 31 ("Fonseca Obj."). On November 26, 2013, the Commissioner filed a response to Fonseca's objections. Dkt. 35.

II. Discussion

A. Standard of Review

In reviewing a Report and Recommendation, a district court "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). When specific objections are made, "[t]he district judge must determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly objected to." Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); United States v. Male Juvenile, 121 F.3d 34, 38 (2d Cir. 1997). However, when the objections simply reiterate previous arguments or make only conclusory statements, the Court should review the report for clear error. See Genao v. United States, No. 08 Civ. 9313 (RO), 2011 WL 924202, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 16, 2011); Kirk v. Burge, 646 F.Supp.2d 534, 539 (S.D.N.Y. 2009) (collecting cases).

B. Objections to the Report

Fonseca raises three objections to the Report. None ...


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