United States District Court, N.D. New York
MARK A. SCHNEIDER, ESQ., SCHNEIDER LAW OFFICE, Plattsburgh, NY, for Plaintiff.
PETER W. JEWETT, ESQ., Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, HON. RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN, United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York, Syracuse, NY, for Defendan.
DAVID E. PEEBLES, Magistrate Judge.
Currently pending before the court in this action, in which plaintiff seeks judicial review of an adverse administrative determination by the Commissioner, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), are cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings. Oral argument was conducted in connection with those motions on February 10, 2014, during a telephone conference held on the record. At the close of argument I issued a bench decision in which, after applying the requisite deferential review standard, I found that the Commissioner's determination did not result from the application of proper legal principles and is not supported by substantial evidence, providing further detail regarding my reasoning and addressing the specific issues raised by the plaintiff in her appeal.
After due deliberation, and based upon the court's oral bench decision, a transcript of which is attached and incorporated herein by reference, it is hereby
ORDERED, as follows:
1) Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings is GRANTED.
2) The Commissioner's determination that plaintiff was not disabled at the relevant times, and thus is not entitled to benefits under the Social Security Act, is VACATED.
3) The matter is hereby REMANDED to the Commissioner, without a directed finding of disability, for further proceedings consistent with this determination.
4) The clerk is respectfully directed to enter judgment, based upon this determination, remanding the matter to the Commissioner pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and closing this case.
THE COURT: Thank you. I'll let that be the last word.
So, I have before me a plaintiff who was born in March of 1969. She's 44 years old. Well, she's almost 45. High school graduate. Has two children age 16 and 20. The 20-year-old, according to the record, lives with her during the school year. She last worked in November of 2009 and her prior work experience encompasses various positions.
It's very clear that the plaintiff suffers from mental impairments, as well as alcohol abuse and cannabis dependency. Among her mental impairments is a depressive disorder that worsened in 2007 through 2009 with the deaths of her brother in 2007, her father in 2008, her mother in 2010, and a suicide of an ex-boyfriend shortly after their breakup. She has had at least two failed attempts at rehabilitation, one at Conifer Park on another at a place called OASAS.
She has requested that she be provided with disability insurance benefits, filed an application on May 10, 2010 alleging an onset date of November 17, 2009. She has insurance coverage through December 31, 2014. A hearing was conducted by Administrative Law Judge Mary Sparks on July 6, 2011. ALJ Sparks issued a decision on October 14, 2011, finding that the plaintiff was not disabled at the relevant times ...