Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ido v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, W.D. New York

January 7, 2020

MAZEN IDO, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          DON D. BUSH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Mazen Ido (“Plaintiff”) brings this action pursuant to the Social Security Act (the “Act”), seeking review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the “Commissioner”) that denied his application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the Act. See ECF No. 1. The Court has jurisdiction over this action under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c), and the parties consented to proceed before the undersigned in accordance with a standing order (see ECF No. 12).

         Both parties moved for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). See ECF Nos. 9, 11. Plaintiff also filed a reply. See ECF No. 13. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion (ECF No. 9) is DENIED, and the Commissioner's motion (ECF No. 11) is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         On March 5, 2015, Plaintiff protectively filed his DIB application, alleging a disability beginning January 23, 2014 (the disability onset date), based on: back injury, neck injury, left shoulder injury, and chronic migraines causing short-term memory loss and reduced/blurry vision. Transcript (Tr.) 283. Plaintiff alleges a work-related injury in January 2014. Tr. 52, 391-393. He was 36 years of age on the date last insured (September 30, 2016).[1] Tr. 23, 37. He had a college education and past relevant work experience as an electronics technician, medical shuttle bus driver, and laborer. Tr. 66-67.

         Plaintiff's claim was initially denied on April 15, 2015, after which he requested an administrative hearing. Plaintiff appeared and testified at a video hearing held on August 4, 2017. Tr. 22. Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth Ebner (the “ALJ”) presided over the hearing from Falls Church, Virginia. Id. Plaintiff appeared and testified in Buffalo, New York, and was represented by Carol A. Brent, an attorney. Beth Crain, an impartial vocational expert (“VE”) also appeared and testified at the hearing. Id. The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on August 30, 2017, finding Plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 22-39. On August 3, 2018, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. Tr. 1-6. The ALJ's decision thus became the “final decision” of the Commissioner subject to judicial review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         LEGAL STANDARD

         I. District Court Review

         “In reviewing a final decision of the SSA, this Court is limited to determining whether the SSA's conclusions were supported by substantial evidence in the record and were based on a correct legal standard.” Talavera v. Astrue, 697 F.3d 145, 151 (2d Cir. 2012) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)) (other citation omitted). The Act holds that the Commissioner's decision is “conclusive” if it is supported by substantial evidence. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). “Substantial evidence means more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Moran v. Astrue, 569 F.3d 108, 112 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations omitted). It is not the Court's function to “determine de novo whether [the claimant] is disabled.” Schaal v. Apfel, 134 F.3d 496, 501 (2d Cir. 1990).

         II. The Sequential Evaluation Process

         An ALJ must follow a five-step sequential evaluation to determine whether a claimant is disabled within the meaning of the Act. See Parker v. City of New York, 476 U.S. 467, 470-71 (1986). At step one, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant is engaged in substantial gainful work activity. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(b). If so, the claimant is not disabled. If not, the ALJ proceeds to step two and determines whether the claimant has an impairment, or combination of impairments, that is “severe” within the meaning of the Act, meaning that it imposes significant restrictions on the claimant's ability to perform basic work activities. Id. § 404.1520(c). If the claimant does not have a severe impairment or combination of impairments meeting the durational requirements, the analysis concludes with a finding of “not disabled.” If the claimant does, the ALJ continues to step three.

         At step three, the ALJ examines whether a claimant's impairment meets or medically equals the criteria of a listed impairment in Appendix 1 of Subpart P of Regulation No. 4 (the “Listings”). Id. § 404.1520(d). If the impairment meets or medically equals the criteria of a Listing and meets the durational requirement, the claimant is disabled. Id. § 404.1509. If not, the ALJ determines the claimant's residual functional capacity, which is the ability to perform physical or mental work activities on a sustained basis notwithstanding limitations for the collective impairments. See id. § 404.1520(e)-(f).

         The ALJ then proceeds to step four and determines whether the claimant's RFC permits him or her to perform the requirements of his or her past relevant work. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(f). If the claimant can perform such requirements, then he or she is not disabled. Id. If he or she cannot, the analysis proceeds to the fifth and final step, wherein the burden shifts to the Commissioner to show that the claimant is not disabled. Id. § 404.1520(g). To do so, the Commissioner must present evidence to demonstrate that the claimant “retains a residual functional capacity to perform alternative substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy” in light of his or her age, education, and work experience. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1560(c).

         ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE'S FINDINGS

         The ALJ analyzed Plaintiff's claim for benefits under the process described above and made the following ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.