United States District Court, N.D. New York
LACHMAN, GORTON LAW FIRM Attorneys for Plaintiff.
OF REGIONAL GENERAL COUNSEL SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
REGION II Attorneys for Defendant.
COUNSEL: PETER A. GORTON, ESQ. KAREN T. CALLAHAN, ESQ.
Special Ass't United States Attorney.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
N. HURD, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jennifer Emond ("Emond" or "plaintiff")
brings this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g)
and 1383(c)(3), seeking review of defendant Commissioner of
Social Security's ("Commissioner" or
"defendant") final decision denying her
applications for Supplemental Security Income
("SSI") and Disability Insurance Benefits
("DIB"). The parties have filed their briefs as
well as the Administrative Record on Appeal and the motions
will be considered on the basis of these submissions without
initially filed an application for Disability Insurance
Benefits and Supplemental Security Income alleging that her
various physical and mental conditions rendered her disabled
beginning on February 8, 2008.
claims were initially denied on December 21, 2012. At
Emond's request, a video hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Robert Gale on May
13, 2014. Plaintiff, represented by counsel, appeared and
August 26, 2014, the ALJ issued a written decision denying
Emond's application for benefits, which became the final
decision of the defendant Commissioner of Social Security
when the Appeals Council denied her request for review.
Standard of Review
court's review of the Commissioner's final decision
is limited to determining whether the decision is supported
by substantial evidence and the correct legal standards were
applied. Poupore v. Astrue, 566 F.3d 303, 305 (2d
Cir. 2009) (per curiam). "Substantial evidence means
'more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.'" Id. (quoting
Consol. Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229
determine on appeal whether an ALJ's findings are
supported by substantial evidence, a reviewing court
considers the whole record, examining the evidence from both
sides, because an analysis of the substantiality of the
evidence must also include that which detracts from its
weight." Williams v. Bowen, 859 F.2d 255, 258
(2d Cir. 1988) (citing Universal Camera Corp. v.
NLRB, 340 U.S. 474, 488 (1951)). If the
Commissioner's disability determination is supported by
substantial evidence, that determination is conclusive.
See id. Indeed, where evidence is deemed susceptible
to more than one rational interpretation, the
Commissioner's decision must be upheld-even if the
court's independent review of the evidence may differ
from the Commissioner's. Rutherford v.
Schweiker, 685 F.2d 60, 62 (2d Cir. 1982); Rosado v.
Sullivan, 805 F.Supp. 147, 153 (S.D.N.Y. 1992).
"where there is a reasonable basis for doubting whether
the Commissioner applied the appropriate legal standards,
" the decision should not be affirmed even though the
ultimate conclusion reached is arguably supported by
substantial evidence. Martone v. Apfel, 70 F.Supp.2d
145, 148 (N.D.N.Y. 1999) (citing Johnson v. Bowen,
817 F.2d 983, 986 (2d Cir. 1987)).
Disability Determination-The Five-Step Evaluation
defines "disability" as the "inability to
engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any
medically determinable physical or mental impairment which
can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can
be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
12 months." 42 U.S.C. ...