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Jackson v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, N.D. New York

February 10, 2017

CARRIE L. JACKSON, a/k/a CARRIE L. DAVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

         APPEARANCES

          LEGAL SERVICES OF CENTRALCHRISTOPHER J. CADIN, ESQ. NEW YORK Attorneys for Plaintiff

          SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION OFFICE OF REGIONAL GENERAL COUNSEL - REGION II Attorneys for Defendant

         OF COUNSEL

          CHRISTOPHER J. CADIN, ESQ. MICHELLE L. CHRIST, ESQ.

          MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

          Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. Senior United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Carrie L. Jackson, a/k/a Carrie L. Davis, brought this action pursuant to the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (“Act”), seeking judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the “Commissioner”), denying her application for benefits. See generally Dkt. Nos. 1, 15. Pending before the Court are the parties' cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Dkt. Nos. 15, 21.

         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff protectively applied for benefits on March 27, 2012, alleging disability as of March 1, 2012. See Administrative Record (“AR”) at 123. The Social Security Administration denied Plaintiff's application on June 26, 2012. See Id. at 62. Plaintiff filed a timely request for a hearing on July 13, 2012. See id. at 98-99. A video hearing was held on June 18, 2013, before Administrative Law Judge Marie Greener (“ALJ”). See id. at 18. On November 27, 2013, the ALJ held a supplemental video hearing. See Id. At this hearing, David A. Festa, an impartial vocational expert, testified. See id. Attorney Cindy Domingue-Hendrickson represented Plaintiff at both hearings. See id.

         On February 19, 2014, the ALJ issued a written decision in which she made the following findings “[a]fter careful consideration of the entire record . . . .” 1)

(1) Plaintiff had not “engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 27, 2012, the application date.”
2) Plaintiff “has the following severe impairments: AC deformity; depression; and anxiety.”
3) Plaintiff “does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.”
4) Plaintiff “has the residual functional capacity to perform unskilled light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) with no overhead lifting, and performing low stress work meaning routine daily tasks which do not significantly change in pace or location on a daily basis; and tasks which do not require working in conjunction or cooperation with others.”
5) “Considering [Plaintiff's] age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform.”
  1. Plaintiff “has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since March 27, 2012, the date the application was filed.”

See AR at 20-26 (citations omitted).

         The ALJ's decision became the Commissioner's final decision on June 29, 2015, when the Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration denied Plaintiff's request for review. See AR at 6-8. Plaintiff then commenced this action on September 2, 2015, filing a supporting brief on June 16, 2016. See Dkt Nos. 1, 15. Defendant filed a response brief on August 29, 2016. See Dkt. No. 21.

         In support of her motion, Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred by not finding her Muenke/Crouzon syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, and migraine headaches to be severe at step two of the disability analysis. Moreover, Plaintiff argues that there is not substantial evidence to support the ALJ's findings with respect to her residual functional capacity (“RFC”). In particular, Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred by not finding in her RFC analysis that she is limited to occasional reaching and lifting in all directions, not just overhead. Finally, Plaintiff argues that the ALJ improperly weighed medical source opinions. See generally Dkt. No. 15, Pl.'s Br.

         III. ...


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