United States District Court, N.D. New York
Lachman, Gorton Law Firm, PETER A. GORTON, ESQ., Endicott, NY, for the Plaintiff.
HON. RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN, United States Attorney, SERGEI ADEN, 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 Judge.
Plaintiff Shane Goodwin 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. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Goodwin's arguments, the Commissioner's decision is reversed and remanded.
On September 7, 2010, Goodwin filed applications for DIB and SSI under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since September 1, 2009. (Tr. at 83-89, 172-77.) After his applications were denied, ( id. at 90-94), Goodwin requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on September 30, 2011, ( id. at 38-81, 103-06). On January 18, 2012, 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 1-6, 9-37.)
Goodwin commenced the present action by filing his complaint on April 8, 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. 7, 8.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (Dkt. Nos. 12, 13.)
Goodwin contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No. 12 at 8-25.) Specifically, Goodwin claims that the ALJ erred in: (1) determining the severity of his impairments; (2) concluding that his mental impairments do not rise to the level of a listing; (3) assessing the medical opinions of record; (4) adequately considering the effects of his obesity; (5) failing to consider his inability to work on a regular and continuing basis; and (6) failing to obtain the testimony of a vocational expert. ( Id. ) The Commissioner counters that the appropriate legal standards were used by the ALJ and his decision is also supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No. 13 at 5-19.)
The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. (Dkt. No. 12 at ...