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Guerriere v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, N.D. New York

February 19, 2015

DEBORAH GUERRIERE, o/b/o S.D.M., Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

PETER M. MARGOLIUS, ESQ., Office of Peter M. Margolius, Catskill, NY, for the Plaintiff.

ANDREEA L. LECHLEITNER, DAVID L. BROWN, FERGUS J. KAISER, 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 Deborah Guerriere o/b/o S.D.M. challenges the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), seeking judicial review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).[1] (Am. Compl., Dkt. No. 4.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Guerriere's arguments, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision and dismisses the complaint.

II. Background

On March 23, 2011, Guerriere filed an application for SSI under the Social Security Act ("the Act") on behalf of her son, a minor, alleging disability since January 1, 2010. (Tr.[2] at 59, 108-14.) After her application was denied, ( id. at 60-65), Guerriere requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on May 8, 2012, ( id. at 36-58, 69-72). On June 8, 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, 15-35.)

Guerriere commenced the present action by filing her amended complaint on September 24, 2013 wherein she sought review of the Commissioner's determination. (Am. Compl.) The Commissioner filed an answer and a certified copy of the administrative transcript. (Dkt. Nos. 9, 11.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (Dkt. Nos. 13, 18.)

III. Contentions

Guerriere contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by legal error and is not supported by substantial evidence. (Dkt. No. 13 at 3-5.) Specifically, Guerriere claims that the ALJ erred in finding that S.D.M.'s impairments are not functionally equivalent to a listed impairment. ( 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. 18 at 6-11.)

IV. Facts

The court incorporates the factual recitations of the parties and the ALJ. ( See generally Dkt. No. 13; Dkt. No. 18; Tr. at 21-29.)

V. Standard of Review

The standard for reviewing the Commissioner's final decision under 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3) is well established and will not be repeated here. For a full discussion of the standard of review, the court refers the parties to its previous opinion in Christiana v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec. Admin., No. 1:05-CV-932, 2008 WL 759076, at *1-2 (N.D.N.Y. Mar. 19, 2008). Similarly, for a full discussion of the three-step analysis used by the Social Security Administration to determine whether individuals under the age of eighteen are disabled, the court refers ...


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