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Paradise v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, N.D. New York

September 3, 2014

YASMEEN S. PARADISE, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

Olinsky Law Group, HOWARD D. OLINSKY, ESQ., Syracuse, NY, for the Plaintiff.

HON. RICHARD S. HARTUNIAN, United States Attorney, REBECCA H. ESTELLE, 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 Yasmeen S. Paradise 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 Paradise's arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the complaint.

II. Background

On April 27, 2010, Paradise filed applications for DIB and SSI under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since April 30, 2008. (Tr.[1] at 81-82, 151-60.) After her applications were denied, ( id. at 86-97), Paradise requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on July 14, 2011, ( id. at 44-74, 98-99).[2] On December 2, 2011, 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, 22-38.)

Paradise commenced the present action by filing her complaint on July 15, 2013 wherein she 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

Paradise contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No. 12 at 15-24.) Specifically, Paradise claims that: (1) the Appeals Council erred in denying her request for review in light of the new evidence she submitted after the ALJ issued his decision; (2) the ALJ improperly evaluated her credibility; and (3) the ALJ erred in failing to obtain the testimony of a vocational expert (VE) at step five of the sequential evaluation. ( 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 4-10.)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. (Dkt. No. 12 at 2-14; Dkt. No. 13 at 1.)

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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