United States District Court, E.D. New York
CATHERINE J. GATIEN, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
DeHaan Law Firm P.C. Attorneys for the Plaintiff By: John W.
DeHaan, Esq., Of Counsel.
States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New
York Attorneys for the Defendant By: Robert W. Schumacher II,
Assistant United States Attorney.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION & ORDER
D. SPATT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Plaintiff Catherine J. Gatien (the “Plaintiff”)
commenced this civil action pursuant to the Social Security
Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405 et seq. (the
“Act”), challenging a final determination by the
Defendant, Nancy A. Berryhill (the “Defendant” or
the “Commissioner”), the acting commissioner of
the Social Security Administration (the
“Administration”) at the time of filing, that she
is ineligible to receive Social Security disability insurance
Court notes that the Plaintiff originally named Carolyn W.
Colvin as the Defendant in this action, but by operation of
law, the present Acting Commissioner, Nancy A. Berryhill is
“automatically substituted as a party.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 25(d); see also 45 U.S.C. §405(g)
(“Any action instituted in accordance with this
subsection shall survive notwithstanding any change in the
person occupying the office of Commissioner of Social
Security or any vacancy in such office.”).
before the Court are the parties' cross motions, pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Fed. R. Civ.
P.” or “Rule”) 12(c) for a judgment on the
pleadings. For the reasons that follow, the Plaintiff's
motion is granted, and the Commissioner's motion is
February 22, 2013, the Plaintiff applied for disability
benefits. She claimed that she was disabled as of February 1,
2011 due to back and neck impairments.
April 22, 2013, the Administration denied her claim, and the
Plaintiff requested a hearing.
March 18, 2014, ALJ Andrew S. Weiss (the “ALJ”)
conducted a hearing during which the Plaintiff was
represented by counsel. At the hearing, the Plaintiff's
counsel amended the Plaintiff's alleged disability onset
date to January 31, 2013.
April 4, 2014, the ALJ issued a written decision denying the
Plaintiff's claim. The Plaintiff requested a review by
the Appeals Council, but the request was denied on June 15,
2015. At that point, the ALJ's decision became the final
decision of the Commissioner.
August 13, 2015, the Plaintiff commenced the instant action.
On July 11, 2016, the parties' cross motions for a
judgment on the pleadings were fully briefed. However, the
Court did not receive the administrative record until April
purposes of these motions, familiarity with the underlying
administrative record is presumed. The Court's discussion
of the evidence will be limited to the specific challenges
presently raised by the Plaintiff. In this regard, references
to the record are denoted as “R.”