United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
MICHAEL A. TELESCA United States District Judge.
by counsel, Osborne Giles (“plaintiff”) brings
this action pursuant to Title XVI of the Social Security Act
(“the Act”), seeking review of the final decision
of the Commissioner of Social Security (“the
Commissioner”) denying his application for supplemental
security income (“SSI”). The Court has
jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). Presently before the Court are the parties'
cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule
12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the
reasons discussed below, the Commissioner's motion is
record reveals that in May 2012, plaintiff filed an
application for SSI, alleging a July 1, 2009 amended onset
date of disability. After his application was denied,
plaintiff requested a hearing, which was held before
administrative law judge Robert Harvey (“the
ALJ”) on October 11, 2012. The ALJ issued an
unfavorable decision on November 1, 2012. The Appeals Council
denied review of that decision and this timely action
The ALJ's Decision
one of the five-step sequential evaluation, see 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.920, the ALJ found that plaintiff had not engaged
in substantial gainful activity since May 21, 2012, the
application date. At step two, the ALJ found that plaintiff
had the severe impairments of status post gunshot wound to
the left side of the chest and right thigh; asthma; and
adjustment disorder with anxiety and depression. At step
three, the ALJ found that plaintiff did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled a listed impairment.
proceeding to step four, the ALJ found that plaintiff
retained the residual functional capacity (“RFC”)
to perform the broad world of work as defined in SSR 83-10,
but with the following nonexertional limitations: he could
not work in areas where he would be exposed to pulmonary
irritants, cold, or dampness; he had occasional limitations
in the ability to kneel; he had occasional limitations in the
ability to understand, remember, and carry out detailed
instructions; and he had occasional limitations in the
ability to interact appropriately with the general public. At
step four, the ALJ found that plaintiff could perform past
relevant work as a service clerk or child monitor.
Accordingly, the ALJ found plaintiff not disabled at step
four and did not proceed to step five.
district court may set aside the Commissioner's
determination that a claimant is not disabled only if the
factual findings are not supported by “substantial
evidence” or if the decision is based on legal error.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g); see also Green-Younger v.
Barnhart, 335 F.3d 99, 105-06 (2d Cir. 2003).
“Substantial evidence means ‘such relevant
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.'” Shaw v. Chater,
221 F.3d 126, 131 (2d Cir. 2000).
Failure to Develop the Record
contends that the ALJ failed to fully develop the record.
Specifically, plaintiff argues that the ALJ failed to
“clarify” the opinion of plaintiff's treating
physician, Dr. Satish Arora, and failed to obtain more
detailed treatment notes from the doctor, prior to giving
little weight to the opinion. For the reasons discussed
below, the Court finds that the administrative record was
complete and that the ALJ did not fail to develop the record.
regulations provide that although a claimant is generally
responsible for providing evidence upon which to base an RFC
assessment, before the Administration makes a disability
determination, the ALJ is “responsible for developing
[the claimant's] complete medical history, including
arranging for a consultative examination(s) if necessary, and
making every reasonable effort to help [the claimant] get
medical reports from [the claimant's] own medical
sources.” 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1545, 416.945
(citing 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1512(d) through (f);
§ 416.912(d) through (e)). “Even though the ALJ
has an affirmative obligation to develop the record, it is
the plaintiff's burden to furnish such medical and other
evidence of disability as the Secretary may require.”
Long v. Bowen, 1989 WL 83379, *4 (E.D.N.Y. July 17,
1989) (internal citations omitted).
Arora provided an August 20, 2012 opinion in which he opined
that due to conditions of leg and chest pain, as well as
asthma, plaintiff was “very limited” in lifting,
carrying, pushing, pulling, bending, and stairs or other
climbing; and was “moderately limited” in walking
and standing. The record reveals that Dr. Arora treated
plaintiff four times between May 7, 2012 and August 20, 2012,
when he issued his opinion. Dr. Arora's opinion confirmed
what the records showed as far as treatment, i.e., that
plaintiff complained of limb pain, for which Dr. Arora
prescribed Naprosyn and advised physical therapy. Dr.
Arora's opinion, which notes that he diagnosed