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Reddick v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, N.D. New York

March 19, 2014

WILLIAM H. REDDICK II, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

William H. Reddick II, Pro Se Marcy, NY, for the Plaintiff.

HON. RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN, United States Attorney, SANDRA M. GROSSFELD, Special Assistant U.S. 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 District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff pro se William H. Reddick II challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), seeking judicial review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Reddick's arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the complaint.

II. Background

On May 31, 2005, Reddick filed an application for SSI under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since May 15, 2000. (Tr.[1] at 39, 116-18.) After his application was denied, ( id. at 57-60), Reddick requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), ( id. at 61-62). A hearing was held on April 16, 2007, which was adjourned in order to allow Reddick to obtain representation, ( id. at 981-91), and after a subsequent hearing on June 12, 2007, ( id. at 948-80), the ALJ issued a decision on February 14, 2008 denying the requested benefits, ( id. at 40-56). On review, the Appeals Council vacated the ALJ's decision and remanded the claim for further proceedings. ( Id. at 86-88.) A supplemental hearing was held on January 20, 2011. ( Id. at 82, 927-47). On March 9, 2011, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision denying the requested benefits, which became the Commissioner's final determination upon the Appeals Council's denial of review. ( Id. at 9-12, 17-36.)

Reddick commenced the present action by filing his complaint on January 2, 2013; wherein he sought review of the Commissioner's determination. (Compl.) The Commissioner filed an answer and a certified copy of the administrative transcript. (Dkt. Nos. 14, 17.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (Dkt. Nos. 20, 21.)

III. Contentions

Reddick contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence.[2] (Dkt. No. 20 at 1-11.) Specifically, Reddick argues that the ALJ: (1) improperly evaluated his substance abuse; (2) incorrectly determined that his impairments did not meet a listed impairment; (3) erred in determining his residual functional capacity (RFC) by improperly weighing the record evidence; (4) incorrectly evaluated his credibility; and (5) improperly relied on the Medical-Vocational Guidelines. ( 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. 21 at 7-19.)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. (Dkt. No. 20 at 9-11; Dkt. No. 21 at 1-2.)

V. Standard of Review

The standard for reviewing the Commissioner's final decision under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)[3] is well established and will not be repeated here. For a full discussion of the standard and the five-step process by which the Commissioner evaluates whether a claimant is disabled under the Act, the court refers the parties to its previous decision in Christiana v. ...


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