United States District Court, S.D. New York
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
B. DANIELS, United States District Judge.
Stephanie Wesley brought this action under section 205(g) of
the Social Security Act ("SSA"), 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), seeking review of a determination by the Commissioner
of Social Security that she is not entitled to Supplemental
Security Income ("SSI") benefits. (Compl., ECF No.
1.) The parties submitted cross-motions for judgment on the
pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. (Pl.'s Mot. for J. on the Pleadings
("Pl.'s Mot."), ECF No. 10; Def.'s
Cross-Mot. for J. on the Pleadings ("Def.'s
Mot."), ECF No. 13.)
this Court is Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn's April 12,
2017 Report and Recommendation ("Report, " ECF No.
16), recommending that this Court grant the
Commissioner's motion and deny the Plaintiffs
motion. This Court adopts that recommendation.
Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings set forth in the Report. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(C). When no party files objections to a Report, the
Court may adopt the Report if "there is no clear error
on the face of the record." Adee Motor Cars, LLC v.
Amato, 388 F.Supp.2d 250, 253 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) (quoting
Nelson v. Smith, 618 F.Supp. 1186, 1189 (S.D.N.Y.
1985)); see also Wilds v. United Parcel Serv., Inc.,
262 F.Supp.2d 163, 169 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) ("To accept the
report and recommendation of a magistrate, to which no timely
objection has been made, a district court need only satisfy
itself that there is no clear error on the face of the
record.") (quoting Nelson, 618 F.Supp. at
Judge Netburn advised the parties that failure to file timely
objections to the Report would constitute a waiver of those
objections on appeal. (Report at 21.) Neither party objected
to the Report's recommendation to grant judgment in favor
of the Commissioner and deny Plaintiffs cross-motion. Having
found no clear error, this Court accepts that recommendation.
Court may only set aside a decision by the Commissioner if
that decision is based upon legal error or not supported by
substantial evidence. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g);
Byam v. Barnhart, 336 F.3d 172, 179 (2d Cir. 2003).
Substantial evidence is "such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion, " and must be "more than a mere
scintilla." Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S.
389, 401 (1971) (quoting Consol. Edison Co. v. NLRB,
305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)). When the Commissioner's
determination is supported by substantial evidence, the
decision must be upheld, "even if there also is
substantial evidence for the plaintiffs position."
Morillo v. Apfel, 150 F.Supp.2d 540, 545 (S.D.N.Y.
SSA DISABILITY DETERMINATION
the Social Security Act, a claimant is entitled to SSI if she
can demonstrate that she is unable 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. §§ 423(d)(1)(A),
assess a claimant's eligibility, the Administrative Law
Judge ("ALJ") undertakes a sequential five-step
process. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4). In the first three
steps, the claimant must demonstrate that: (1) she is not
currently engaging in substantial gainful activity; (2) she
has a "severe impairment" that significantly limits
her ability to do basic work activities; and (3) she has an
impairment that meets or equals one of the listings in
Appendix 1 of the regulations. At Step Four, if the
impairment is not included in the regulations, the ALJ will
consider whether, despite the claimant's severe
impairment, she has the residual functional capacity
("RFC") to perform her past work. Finally, at Step
Five, if the claimant is unable to perform her past work, the
ALJ will determine whether there is other work that the
claimant could perform. See generally Rosa v.
Callahan, 168 F.3d 72, 77 (2d Cir. 1999) (citing
Berry v. Schweiker, 675 F.2d 464, 467 (2d Cir.
assessing whether a claimant has a disability, the factors to
be considered include: "(1) the objective medical facts;
(2) diagnoses or medical opinions based on such facts; (3)
subjective evidence of pain or disability testified to by the
claimant or other[s]; and (4) the claimant's educational
background, age, and work experience." Rivera v.
Harris, 623 F.2d 212, 216 (2d Cir. 1980). An ALJ must
"grant controlling weight to the opinion of a
claimant's treating physician if the opinion is well
supported by medical findings and is not inconsistent with
other substantial evidence." Rosado v.
Barnhart, 290 F.Supp.2d 431, 438 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (citing
20 C.F.R. §§ 416.927(d)(2), 404.1527(d)(2)). If an
ALJ does not give a treating physician's opinion
controlling weight, he must provide "good reasons"
for declining to do so. See 20 C.F.R. §§
THE ALJ'S RFC DETERMINATION
case, Wesley argues that the ALJ committed errors of law at
Steps Four and Five by (1) assigning incorrect weight to the
opinions of several treating physicians and overestimating
her ability to sustain full-time employment; and (2) failing
to provide jobs available in the national economy that were
actually compatible with her RFC. (Report at 9-10.) Having
reviewed Magistrate Judge Netb urn's Report, this Court
agrees that the ALJ correctly analyzed Plaintiffs claim
according to the five-step evaluation process.
Four, the ALJ determined that Wesley had the RFC to perform
simple, routine, and repetitive tasks under certain
conditions, even though Wesley's treating physician, Dr.
Contreras, and her therapist, Ms. Branas, assessed
"marked" limitations for most areas of functioning.
(Id. at 12-13.) In making this determination, the
ALJ properly gave Dr. Contreras's opinion on Wesley's
marked limitations "very little weight."
(Id. at 14.) Among other reasons, Dr.
Contreras's assessment was unsupported by her own
treatment notes, and contradicted by the findings of the
consultative examiner, Dr. Broska. (Id. at 14-17.)
The Report also properly concluded that Dr. Broska's
findings were supported by substantial evidence in the record
and given appropriate weight, and that the RFC determination
fairly incorporated the opinion of Dr. Harding. (Id.
at 16-17.) Although the ALJ ...