United States District Court, N.D. New York
TIMOTHY E. GORDON, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
LAW OFFICES OF STEVEN R. DOLSON, STEVEN R. DOLSON, ESQ., Syracuse, NY, Counsel for Plaintiff.
U.S. SOCIAL SECURITY ADMIN. OFFICE OF REG'L GEN. COUNSEL - REGION II, HEETANO SHAMSOONDAR, ESQ., Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, New York, NY, Counsel for Defendant.
DECISION and ORDER
GLENN T. SUDDABY, District Judge.
Currently before the Court, in this Social Security action filed by Timothy E. Gordon ("Plaintiff") against the Acting Commissioner of Social Security ("Defendant" or "the Commissioner") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c), are the parties' cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings. (Dkt. Nos. 13, 15.) For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion is denied and Defendant's motion is granted.
I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND
A. Factual Background
Plaintiff was born on March 14, 1967. He was in special education classes, including speech therapy, during school and obtained a high school diploma. Plaintiff's employment history consists of work as a dish room supervisor, line cook and janitor. Generally, Plaintiff's alleged disability consists of left hip arthritis. His alleged disability onset date is September 15, 2008, and his date last insured is December 31, 2013.
B. Procedural History
On July 18, 2011, Plaintiff applied for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. Plaintiff's application was initially denied, after which he timely requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("the ALJ"). On September 11, 2012, Plaintiff appeared before the ALJ, Dale Black-Pennington. (Tr. 37-66.) On October 26, 2012, the ALJ issued a written decision finding Plaintiff not disabled under the Social Security Act. (Tr. 9-24.) On March 10, 2014, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, rendering the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-6.) Thereafter, Plaintiff timely sought judicial review in this Court.
C. The ALJ's Decision
Generally, in her decision, the ALJ made the following six findings of fact and conclusions of law. (Tr. 14-20.) First, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since his alleged onset date. (Tr. 14.) Second, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's degenerative joint disease of the right hip is a severe impairment. (Tr. 14-15.) Third, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's impairment does not meet or medically equal one of the listed impairments located in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix. 1. (Tr. 15.) In so doing, the ALJ considered the Listings in section 1.00. ( Id. ) Fourth, the ALJ found that Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except that he can stand and walk for thirty minutes at a time, sit for up to two hours at a time, and can perform occasional bending, stooping or squatting. ( Id. ) The ALJ further noted that Plaintiff had trouble reading long words and difficulty with adding and subtracting. (Tr. 15-19.) Fifth, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is unable to perform his past relevant work. (Tr. 19.) Sixth, and finally, the ALJ determined that there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff can perform. (Tr. 19-20.)
II. THE PARTIES' BRIEFINGS ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION
A. Plaintiff's Arguments
Plaintiff makes two separate arguments in support of his motion for judgment on the pleadings. First, Plaintiff argues that the ALJ committed reversible error by failing to properly assess his need for an assistive device. (Dkt. No. 13 at 3-4 [Pl.'s Mem. of Law].) Second, Plaintiff argues that the ALJ ...