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Dippold v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, N.D. New York

May 9, 2017

NANCY A. DIPPOLD, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          OFFICE OF PETER MARGOLIUS PETER MARGOLIUS, ESQ. Counsel for Plaintiff

          U.S. SOCIAL SECURITY ADMIN. MONIKA CRAWFORD, ESQ. OFFICE OF REG'L GEN. COUNSEL - REGION II Counsel for Defendant

          MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

          William B. Mitchell Carter, U.S. Magistrate Judge

          This matter was referred to me, for all proceedings and entry of a final judgment, pursuant to the Social Security Pilot Program, N.D.N.Y. General Order No. 18, and in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Fed.R.Civ.P. 73, N.D.N.Y. Local Rule 73.1 and the consent of the parties. (Dkt. Nos. 4, 12.).

         Currently before the Court, in this Social Security action filed by Nancy Dippold (“Plaintiff”) against the Commissioner of Social Security (“Defendant” or “the Commissioner”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3), are the parties' cross- motions for judgment on the pleadings. (Dkt. Nos. 9, 10.) For the reasons set forth below, it is ordered that Plaintiff's motion is denied and Defendant's motion is granted.

         I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff was born in 1960. (T. 64.) She completed high school. (T. 144.) Generally, Plaintiff's alleged disability consists of neck impairment, back impairment, knee impairment, hearing loss, and carpal tunnel syndrome. (T. 143.) Her alleged disability onset date is July 1, 1997. (T. 64.) Her date last insured is June 30, 2002. (Id.) She previously worked as a printer. (T. 145.)

         B. Procedural History

         On April 30, 2013, Plaintiff applied for a period of Disability Insurance Benefits (“SSD”) under Title II, and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI, of the Social Security Act. (T. 70.) Plaintiff's applications were initially denied, after which she timely requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“the ALJ”). On September 16, 2014, Plaintiff appeared before the ALJ, Dale Black-Pennington. (T. 30-63.) On November 24, 2014, ALJ Black-Pennington issued a partially favorable decision. (T. 11-29.) On March 22, 2016, the Appeals Council (“AC”) denied Plaintiff's request for review, rendering the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. (T. 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 findings of fact and conclusions of law. (T. 17-24.) First, the ALJ found that Plaintiff met the insured status requirements through June 30, 2002 and Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 1, 1997, her alleged onset date. (T. 17.) Second, the ALJ found that since the alleged onset date Plaintiff had the severe impairments of chronic knee problems status post multiple surgical procedures, lumbar spondylosis, cervical stenosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and sensorineural hearing loss. (Id.) Third, the ALJ found that since her alleged onset date Plaintiff did not have an impairment that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments located in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix. 1. (T. 18-19.) Fourth, the ALJ found that prior to September 16, 2014, the date Plaintiff became disabled, Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform: light work[1]; except, Plaintiff could stand and walk for up to two hour intervals for six hours during the course of an eight hour workday; could occasionally climb stairs and ramps; must avoid climbing ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; and required a moderate to low noise work environment. (T. 19.) Fifth, the ALJ determined that beginning on September 16, 2014, Plaintiff had the RFC to perform: sedentary work[2]; except, she could stand and walk in 20 minute intervals up to less than two hours during the course of an eight hour workday; could sit for up to one hour intervals for a total of less than six hours during an eight hour workday; could push and pull occasionally; must avoid climbing ropes, ladders and scaffolds; could climb stairs or ramps rarely; and required a low noise work environment. (T. 21.) Sixth, the ALJ determined that since July 1, 1997, Plaintiff was incapable of performing her past relevant work. (T. 22.) The ALJ determined that prior to September 16, 2014, there were jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff could perform. (Id.) The ALJ determined that beginning September 16, 2014, there were no jobs in the national economy that Plaintiff could perform. (T. 23.)

         II. THE PARTIES' BRIEFINGS ON Plaintiff's MOTION

         A. Plaintiff's Arguments

         Plaintiff makes one argument in support of her motion for judgment on the pleadings. Plaintiff argues the ALJ's RFC determination, that prior to September 16, 2014, Plaintiff could perform light work with limitations, is not supported by substantial evidence in the record. (Dkt. No. 9 at 4-5 [Pl.'s Mem. of Law].)

         B. Defendant's Arguments

         In response, Defendant makes one argument. Defendant argues substantial evidence supports the ALJ's RFC determination. ...


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