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Chavis v. Colvin

United States District Court, N.D. New York

February 13, 2014

MARTHA K. CHAVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

CHRISTOPHER CADIN, ESQ., Legal Services of Central New York, Syracuse, NY, for the Plaintiff.

BENIL ABRAHAM, REBECCA H. ESTELLE, Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys. 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 Magistrate Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Martha K. Chavis 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. ยงยง 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Chavis' arguments, the Commissioner's decision is reversed and remanded.

II. Background

On June 6 and 22, 2007, Chavis filed applications for DIB and SSI, respectively, under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since December 26, 2006. (Tr.[1] at 62-63, 129-42.) After her applications were denied, ( id. at 71-76), Chavis requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on February 10, 2010, ( id. at 31-53, 77). On May 18, 2010, 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. ( Id. at 1-8, 13-30.)

Chavis commenced the present action by filing her complaint on November 1, 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. 7, 8.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (Dkt. Nos. 12, 16.)

III. Contentions

Chavis contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence.[2] (Dkt. No. 12 at 12-24.) Specifically, Chavis claims that the ALJ erred in: (1) determining her severe impairments; (2) assessing her residual functional capacity (RFC); (3) evaluating her credibility; and (4) failing to call upon a vocational expert (VE). ( 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. 16 at 5-11.)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. (Dkt.

No. 12 at 2-8; Dkt. No. ...


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