United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION & ORDER
W. PAYSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Michael Anthony Jasen (“Jasen”) brings this
action pursuant to Section 205(g) of the Social Security Act
(the “Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking
judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security (the “Commissioner”) denying his
application for Supplemental Security Income Benefits and
Disability Insurance Benefits (“SSI/DIB”).
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties have
consented to the disposition of this case by a United States
magistrate judge. (Docket # 16).
before the Court are the parties' motions for judgment on
the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. (Docket ## 14, 18). For the reasons set
forth below, this Court finds that the decision of the
Commissioner is supported by substantial evidence in the
record and is in accordance with applicable legal standards.
Accordingly, the Commissioner's motion for judgment on
the pleadings is granted, and Jasen's motion for judgment
on the pleadings is denied.
applied for SSI and DIB on April 19, 2013, alleging
disability beginning on June 30, 2000 due to foot issues,
insomnia, and arthritis. (Tr. 149, 170). On June 12, 2013,
the Social Security Administration denied Jasen's claim
for benefits, finding that he was not disabled. (Tr. 81-82).
Jasen requested and was granted a hearing before
Administrative Law Judge James G. Myles (the
“ALJ”). (Tr. 15-16, 105-09). The ALJ conducted a
hearing on October 21, 2014. (Tr. 34-66). Jasen was
represented at the hearing by his attorney Jeffrey E. Marion,
Esq. (“Marion”). (Tr. 34, 89). In a decision
dated October 28, 2014, the ALJ found that Jasen was not
disabled and was not entitled to benefits. (Tr. 17-33).
February 3, 2016, the Appeals Council denied Jasen's
request for review of the ALJ's decision. (Tr. 1-6).
Jasen commenced this action on March 8, 2016, seeking review
of the Commissioner's decision. (Docket # 1).
Relevant Medical Evidence 
A. Treatment Records
records indicate that Jasen received treatment for diabetes,
hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and joint pain from Diana
Thangathurai (“Thangathurai”), MD, at Lifetime
Health Medical Care (“Lifetime”) on November 6,
2013. (Tr. 227-30). Thangathurai assessed that Jasen suffered
from diabetes mellitus, joint pain, hypertension,
hyperlipidemia, and depression. (Id.). Thangathurai
ordered bloodwork. (Id.). The treatment notes
indicate that Jasen was taking various medications, including
Metformin HCL, Simvastatin, Glipized, Zoloft, and Ibuprofen.
October 17, 2014, Jasen attended another appointment with
Thangathurai for treatment for hypertension and diabetes.
(Tr. 236-41). Thangathurai reported that Jasen's diabetes
was poorly controlled and recommended that he follow a low
carbohydrate diet, lose weight, maintain a healthy weight,
and exercise regularly. (Id.). Thangathurai
increased Jasen's dosage of Glipizide to twenty
milligrams in the morning and one tablet at night.
(Id.). She also increased his dosage of Januvia to
100 milligrams. (Id.).
indicated that Jasen's hypertension was chronic and
recommended that Jasen follow a “low salt diet,
exercise 30-60 [minutes] most days of the week, [and]
maintain [a] healthy weight.” (Id.).
Thangathurai also diagnosed Jasen with an onset of white
blood cell disease (“WBC disease”) and advised
him to repeat labs in four weeks. (Id.).
Medical Opinion Evidence
Harbinder Toor, MD
13, 2013, state examiner Harbinder Toor (“Toor”),
MD, conducted a consultative orthopedic examination of Jasen.
(Tr. 231-34). Jasen complained of chronic pain in the lower
back, knees, ankles, and feet due to possible arthritis, and
vision problems. (Id.). Jasen described his back
pain as generally constant, dull and achy, although he noted
that it was sometimes sharp in the lower back.
(Id.). He indicated that his pain sometimes radiated
to his lower leg. (Id.). He estimated the degree of
pain in his knees, ankles and feet to be a level eight out of
ten, and complained of occasional swelling in the right
ankle. (Id.). Jasen reported difficulty standing,
walking, squatting, bending and lifting. (Id.).
reported that he was able to prepare meals daily, do laundry
weekly, and clean monthly. (Id.). He indicated that
he was able to care for his personal hygiene and to shop
twice a week. (Id.). Jasen reported that he enjoyed
watching television and light reading. (Id.).
examination, Toor noted that Jasen had a normal gait and did
not appear to be in acute distress. (Id.). He was
able to perform the heel and toe walk with difficulty, and
could squat to fifty percent of full range. (Id.).
He used no assistive devices and had no difficulty changing
for the exam or rising from his chair, although he did have
difficulty getting on and off the exam table. (Id.).
noted that Jasen's cervical spine showed full flexion,
extension, lateral flexion bilaterally, and full rotary
movement bilaterally. (Id.). Toor found that
Jasen's lumbar and thoracic forward flexion, lateral
flexion and lateral rotation were limited to thirty degrees
and he could extend to zero degrees. (Id.). The
straight leg raise was positive bilaterally at thirty degrees
in both the sitting and supine positions. (Id.).
Toor found no evidence of SI joint or sciatic notch
tenderness, spasms, scoliosis, kyphosis, or tender points.
(Id.). Toor found full range of motion in the
shoulders, elbows, forearms, wrists, and fingers.
(Id.). He also found full range of motion in the
hips, knees, and ankles bilaterally, but noted some
tenderness in the knees and ankles bilaterally.
(Id.). Toor assessed strength as five out of five in
the upper and lower extremities and found no evidence of
sensory deficits. (Id.). Toor found Jasen's hand
and finger dexterity to be intact and his grip strength to be
five out of five bilaterally. (Id.). Toor also
reviewed an x-ray of Jasen's left foot that was negative
for abnormalities. (Id.).
assessed that Jasen suffered from a history of arthritis in
the knees, ankles and feet, and a history of possible
arthritis in the lower back, and a history of vision
problems. (Id.). He opined that Jasen had moderate
limitations in standing, walking, squatting, bending and
lifting, and that pain interfered with his physical routine.
(Id.). Toor opined that Jasen's prognosis was
Yu-Ying Lin, PhD
13, 2013, state examiner Yu-Ying Lin (“Lin”),
PhD, conducted a consultative psychiatric evaluation of
Jasen. (Tr. 222-26). Jasen reported that he lived with his
brother, who had driven him to the evaluation.
(Id.). Jasen reported he had obtained an
associate's degree and was not currently employed.
(Id.). He previously had been employed as a
machinist, but had not worked since he was laid off in 2000.
(Id.). Jasen reported no previous mental health
to Jasen, he experienced difficulty falling asleep and
decreased appetite. (Id.). Jasen reported depressive
symptoms, including a dysphoric mood, helplessness, loss of
usual interest, fatigue, and diminished self-esteem.
(Id.). Jasen also reported situational worry, but
denied anxiety, suicidal thoughts or homicidal ideation.
(Id.). He reported that his major stressor was his
financial situation. (Id.). Jasen indicated that he
was able to care for his personal hygiene, cook, clean, do
laundry, shop, and manage his money. (Id.). Although
Jasen reported that he was able to perform these activities
without difficulty, he also stated that his brother assisted
him when necessary. (Id.). Jasen reported that he
had a good relationship with his family and friends and was
able to drive and take public transportation. (Id.).
examination, Lin noted that Jasen appeared casually dressed
and well-groomed, had appropriate eye contact and posture,
and lethargic motor behavior. (Id.). Lin opined that
Jasen had fluent, clear speech with adequate language,
coherent and goal-directed thought processes, dysphoric
affect, dysthymic mood, clear sensorium, full orientation,
and average intellectual functioning with a general fund of
information appropriate to his experience.
Lin noted that Jasen's attention and concentration were
generally intact. (Id.). Lin found Jasen's
recent and remote memory skills to be moderately impaired due
to nervousness. (Id.). According to Lin, Jasen
recalled three objects immediately and one object after
delay, and he completed five digits forward and five digits
opined that Jasen could follow and understand simple
directions, perform simple tasks independently, maintain a
regular schedule, learn new tasks, make appropriate
decisions, and relate adequately with others. (Id.).
Lin opined that Jasen was mildly limited in maintaining
attention and concentration, mildly to moderately limited in
performing complex tasks independently, and moderately
limited in appropriately dealing with stress. (Id.).
Lin assessed that Jasen suffered from dysthymic disorder and
his prognosis was fair. (Id.).
T. Harding, PhD
10, 2013, agency medical consultant Dr. T. Harding
(“Harding”), PhD, completed a Psychiatric Review
Technique. (Tr. 77-79). Harding concluded that Jasen's
mental impairments were not severe. (Id.). According
to Harding, Jasen suffered from mild limitations in his
activities of daily living, ability to maintain social
functioning, and ability to maintain concentration,
persistence or pace. (Id.).
Diana Thangathurai, MD
October 17, 2014, Thangathurai completed a “Residual
Functional Capacity Assessment - Diabetes.” (Tr. 241).
Thangathurai indicated that Jasen suffered from insulin
resistant Type II diabetes. (Id.). According to
Thangathurai, Jasen could frequently lift five pounds and
could sit and stand for fifteen minutes at a time.
(Id.). Thangathurai opined ...