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Wilson v. Colvin

United States District Court, N.D. New York

September 29, 2014

PAULA A. WILSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

CYNTHIA A. EYLER, ESQ., Legal Aid Society of Northeastern NY, Canton, NY, for the Plaintiff.

KRISTINA D. COHN, ROBERT R. SCHRIVER, Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, 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 Paula A. Wilson challenges defendant Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), seeking review under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3).[1] (Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) In a Report and Recommendation (R&R) filed June 27, 2014, Magistrate Judge Earl S. Hines recommended that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed. (Dkt. No. 28.) Pending are Wilson's objections to the R&R. (Dkt. No. 29.) For the reasons stated below, the court declines to adopt the Magistrate Judge's Recommendation, and reverses and remands the Commissioner's decision.

II. Background[2]

On February 26, 2010, Wilson filed applications for DIB and SSI under the Social Security Act. (Tr.[3] at 121-22, 173-87.) After her applications were denied, Wilson requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on June 28, 2011. ( Id. at 53-114, 123-29.) On November 14, 2011, the ALJ issued a 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 1-7, 28-52.)

Wilson commenced the present action by filing a complaint on March 13, 2013, seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's determination. (Compl.) After receiving the parties' briefs, Judge Hines issued an R&R recommending that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed. ( See generally Dkt. No. 28.)

III. Standard of Review

By statute and rule, district courts are authorized to refer social security appeals to magistrate judges for proposed findings and recommendations as to disposition. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), (B); N.D.N.Y. L.R. 40.1, 72.3(d); General Order No. 18. Before entering final judgment, this court reviews report and recommendation orders in cases it has referred to a magistrate judge. If a party properly objects to a specific element of the magistrate judge's findings and recommendations, this court reviews those findings and recommendations de novo. See Almonte v. N.Y. State Div. of Parole, No. Civ. 904CV484GLS, 2006 WL 149049, at *3, *5 (N.D.N.Y. Jan. 18, 2006). In cases where no party has filed an objection, only vague or general objections are made, or a party resubmits the same papers and arguments already considered by the magistrate judge, this court reviews the findings and recommendations of the magistrate judge for clear error. See id. at *4-5.

IV. Discussion

Wilson raises one specific objection to the R&R regarding new evidence submitted to the Appeals Council, which the court will review de novo. (Dkt. No. 29 at 4-6, 8-10.) The remainder of the R&R will be reviewed for clear error.[4]

A. New Evidence

Wilson argues that the Commissioner erred in ignoring new and material evidence from treating psychiatrist Mariam Asar. (Dkt. No. 29 at 4-6.) According to Wilson, Judge Hines improperly refused to consider such evidence as part of the administrative record. ( Id. at 5.) Further, Wilson contends that Dr. Asar's treatment ...


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