United States District Court, N.D. New York
PETER A. GORTON, ESQ., LACHMAN & GORTON, Endicott, New York, Counsel for Plaintiff.
AMANDA J. LOCKSHIN, ESQ., SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, OFFICE OF REG'L GEN. COUNSEL-REGION II, New York, New York, Counsel for Defendant.
DECISION and ORDER
GLENN T. SUDDABY, District Judge.
Currently before the Court, in this action filed by Lisa Silsbee ("Plaintiff") against the Commissioner of Social Security ("Defendant" or "Commissioner") seeking Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), are the following: (1) the Report-Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter, issued pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B) and Local Rule 72.3(c) of the Local Rules of Practice for this Court recommending that Plaintiff's Complaint be dismissed in its entirety; (2) Plaintiff's Objections to the Report-Recommendation; and (3) Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Objections. (Dkt. Nos. 14, 16, 17.) For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Objections are rejected; Magistrate Judge Baxter's Report-Recommendation is accepted and adopted in its entirety; and Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed.
I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND
A. Procedural History
On April 26, 2011, Plaintiff filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits, alleging a disability onset date of January 29, 2010, which left her unable to work. (Administrative Transcript ["T."] at 136-137). On June 30, 2011, Plaintiff's application was initially denied by the Social Security Administration. (T. at 79-82.) Plaintiff appealed the decision and, on November 8, 2012, a hearing was held before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") of the Social Security Administration. (T. at 28-70.)
On January 11, 2013, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled. (T. at 11-24.) Plaintiff appealed the ALJ's decision to the Social Security Administration's Appeals Council and, on October 2, 2009, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for further review, making the ALJ's decision final. (T. at 1-5.) On March 28, 2014, Plaintiff commenced this action in federal court. (Dkt. No. 1.)
Generally, in her brief in support of her Complaint, Plaintiff essentially asserts three arguments: (1) the ALJ erred by failing to properly consider and assess all of Plaintiff's severe impairments (including her knee impairment, back impairment, joint pain, plantar fasciitis, psychiatric impairments, and the side effects of medication) and include the true limiting effect of those impairments in the Residual Functional Capacity ("RFC") determination, resulting in an RFC evaluation that is not supported by substantial evidence; (2) the ALJ erred by failing to properly weigh the medical evidence; and (3) the ALJ erred by failing to obtain testimony from a vocational expert. (Dkt. No. 11.)
Generally, in her brief in response to Plaintiff's brief, Defendant disagrees with each of these arguments, and argues that the Commissioner's decision should be affirmed. (Dkt. No. 14.)
B. Magistrate Judge Baxter's Report-Recommendation
On May 4, 2015, Magistrate Judge Baxter issued a Report-Recommendation recommending that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed, and that Plaintiff's Complaint be dismissed. (Dkt. No. 15.) Generally, Magistrate Judge Baxter's Report-Recommendation is based on the following findings and conclusions: (1) the ALJ's finding that Plaintiff does not have a "severe impairment" which significantly limits her physical or mental ability to do basic work activities is supported by substantial evidence; (2) the ALJ's finding that Plaintiff has the RFC to perform a full range of sedentary work is supported by substantial evidence; and (3) because the ALJ found that Plaintiff could perform a full range of sedentary work, a vocational expert was not required. ( Id. at Parts VI to VIII.)
C. Plaintiff's Objection to the Report-Recommendation
On May 19, 2015, Plaintiff filed her Objections to the Report-Recommendation, expressly asserting "the same" arguments as asserted in Plaintiff's brief in ...