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Golden v. Colvin

United States District Court, N.D. New York

September 16, 2014

RASHIDA GOLDEN, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, 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, ELIZABETH D. ROTHSTEIN, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, Syracuse, NY, Steven P. Conte, Regional Chief Counsel, Social Security Administration, New York, NY, for the Defendant.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

GARY L. SHARPE, Chief District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Rashida Golden challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of 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 Golden's arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the complaint.

II. Background

On April 4, 2011, Golden filed an application for SSI under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since February 1, 2011. (Tr.[1] at 53, 125-32.) After her application was denied, ( id. at 62-65), Golden requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on June 21, 2012, ( id. at 25-52, 69-71). On August 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 1-6, 9-24.)

Golden commenced the present action by filing her complaint on October 2, 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. 9, 10.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (Dkt. Nos. 14, 15.)

III. Contentions

Golden contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No. 14 at 9-15.) Specifically, Golden claims that the ALJ erred in: (1) assessing her severe impairments; (2) failing to include any non-exertional limitations in her residual functional capacity (RFC) determination; and (3) improperly accounting for the effects of her obesity. ( 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. 15 at 4-14.)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. (Dkt. No. 14 at 1-9; Dkt. No. 15 at 2.)

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 v. ...


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