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Wilferth v. Colvin

United States District Court, W.D. New York

October 1, 2014

DANIEL WILFERTH, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Defendant

For Daniel Wilferth, Plaintiff: Steven Richard Dolson, LEAD ATTORNEY, The Law Offices of Steven R. Dolson, PLLC, Syracuse, NY.

For Carolyn W. Colvin, Defendant: Kathryn L. Smith, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Attorney's Office, Rochester, NY; Vernon Norwood, LEAD ATTORNEY, Social Security Administration, Office of General Counsel, New York, NY.

Page 360

DECISION AND ORDER

DAVID G. LARIMER, United States District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Daniel Allen Wilferth (" plaintiff" ) brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of the Social Securities Act, seeking review of a final decision of the Commissioner which denied his applications for social security disability and disability insurance benefits. Specifically, plaintiff alleges that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (" ALJ" ), Hortensia Haaversen, denying his application for benefits, was not supported by substantial evidence.

Plaintiff moves for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c), on the grounds that the ALJ committed reversible error by failing to follow the treating physician rule and by failing to classify plaintiff's chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (" COPD" ) as a severe impairment. (Dkt. #8). The Commissioner cross-moves for judgment on the pleadings. (Dkt. #10). For the reasons set forth below, I find that the ALJ's decision is supported by substantial evidence, and is in accordance with applicable law.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On October 8, 2010, plaintiff, then 47 years old, applied for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Act, claiming disability since August 24, 2010, due to back pain, drug addiction, depression, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. (Transcript of Administrative Proceedings, hereinafter " Tr.," at 192). On November 8, 2010, plaintiff filed an application for supplemental security income benefits under Title XVI of the Act. (Tr. at 188-190). Both applications were denied on February 7, 2011. (Tr. at 83-90).

Plaintiff requested a hearing, which was held via video-conference on February 6, 2012 before Administrative Law Judge (" ALJ" ) Hortensia Haaversen. (Tr. at 51-73). By decision dated April 12, 2012, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled. (Tr. at 11-23). That decision became the final decision of the Commissioner when the Social Security Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review on March 16, 2013. (Tr. at 1-6). This action followed.

DISCUSSION

I. Jurisdiction and Scope of Review

42 U.S.C. § 405(g) grants district courts jurisdiction to hear claims based on the denial of social security benefits. 42 U.S.C. § ...


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