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Shirback v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, W.D. New York

January 15, 2020

PERRY SHIRBACK, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH HILLER, PLLC Counsel for Plaintiff.

          U.S. SOCIAL SECURITY ADMIN. OFFICE OF REG'L GEN. COUNSEL - REGION II Counsel for Defendant.

          OF COUNSEL: TIMOTHY HILLER, ESQ. KENNETH R. HILLER, ESQ. HEATHER SERTIAL, ESQ. JILLIAN ERIN NELSON, ESQ. PRASHANT TAMASKAR, ESQ.

          MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

          J. GREGORY WEHRMAN, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         The parties consented in accordance with a standing order to proceed before the undersigned. The court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The matter is presently before the court on the parties' cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Upon review of the administrative record and consideration of the parties' filings, the Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative record is DENIED, the Defendant's motion for judgment on the administrative record is GRANTED, and the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.

         I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff was born on June 2, 1966, and testified he does not have a high school or equivalency degree[1]. (Tr. 86). Generally, Plaintiff's alleged disability consists of depression, anxiety, carpal tunnel syndrome, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, acid reflux, and an elbow injury. (Tr. 195). His alleged onset date of disability is June 6, 2012. (Tr. 197).

         B. Procedural History

         On April 3, 2015, Plaintiff applied for a period of Disability Insurance Benefits (“SSD”) under Title II and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. (Tr. 76-77). Plaintiff's application was initially denied, after which he timely requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“the ALJ”). On October 27, 2017, Plaintiff appeared before the ALJ, William M. Manico. (Tr. 17). On January 12, 2018, ALJ Manico issued a written decision finding Plaintiff not disabled under the Social Security Act. (Tr. 14-31). On September 18, 2018, the Appeals Council (“AC”) denied Plaintiff's request for review, rendering the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-3). Thereafter, Plaintiff timely sought judicial review in this Court.

         C. The ALJ's Decision

         Generally, in his decision, the ALJ made the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2016.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 6, 2012, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: vertigo; left elbow pain status post ulnar transposition; anxiety disorder(s); affective disorder(s); substance abuse disorder allegedly in remission. (20 CFR 44.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) with the following exceptions: Claimant may only frequently stoop, reach, push and/or pull. Claimant should avoid exposure to hazards. Claimant retains the mental residual functional capacity to perform unskilled work that would allow him to have a regular work break every two hours, which does not involve the ...

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