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Castle v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, N.D. New York

May 29, 2014

JAMES CASTLE, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

MAGGIE W. MCOMBER, ESQ., Law Offices of Steven R. Dolson, Syracuse, NY, for the Plaintiff

SANDRA M. GROSSFELD, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, HON. 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 District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff James Castle 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). (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Castle's arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the complaint.

II. Background

On March 30 and April 4, 2011, Castle filed applications for SSI and DIB, respectively, under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since August 8, 2009. (Tr.[1] at 66-67, 115-24.) After his applications were denied, ( id. at 69-76), Castle requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on April 23, 2012, ( id. at 24-59, 77-78). On May 14, 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 1-4, 8-23.)

Castle commenced the present action by filing his complaint on May 10, 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.10, 16.)

III. Contentions

Castle contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No. 10 at 2-6.) Specifically, Castle claims that the ALJ erred in determining that there is work in the national economy that he is capable of performing. ( 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 7-12.)

IV. Facts

The court incorporates the factual recitations of the parties and the ALJ. (Dkt. No. 10 at 1-2, Dkt. No. 16 at 1; Tr. at 11-19.)

V. Standard of Review The standard for reviewing the Commissioner's final decision under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)[2] 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 ...


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