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Goodwin v. Colvin

United States District Court, N.D. New York

May 22, 2014

SHANE GOODWIN, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

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.

I. Introduction

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. ยงยง 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.

II. Background

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.[1] 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.)

III. Contentions

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.)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. (Dkt. No. 12 at ...


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