United States District Court, N.D. New York
OFFICES OF STEVEN R. DOLSON Counsel for Plaintiff
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMIN OFFICE OF REGIONAL GENERAL COUNSEL
REGION II Counsel for Defendant
COUNSEL: STEVEN R. DOLSON, ESQ. JAMES DESIR, ESQ.
DECISION AND ORDER 
J. STEWART United States Magistrate Judge
before the Court, in this Social Security action filed by
Kami B. (“Plaintiff”) against the Commissioner of
Social Security (“Defendant” or “the
Commissioner”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) are
Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and
Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Dkt.
Nos. 7 & 10. For the reasons set forth below,
Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings is
denied and Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings is granted. The Commissioner's decision denying
Plaintiff disability benefits is affirmed, and
Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed.
was born on September 24, 1978, making her 37 years old at
the alleged onset date (“AOD”) and 39 at the date
of the ALJ's decision. Dkt. No. 6, Admin. Tr.
(“Tr.”),  p. 32. Plaintiff reported completing high
school, and completing some college courses. Tr. at pp.
33-34. Plaintiff has past work serving as a supply sergeant
in the U.S. Army. Tr. at p. 190. Plaintiff alleged disability
due to endometriosis, peritoneal adhesions, cervical spine
impairment, bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, right shoulder
impairment, left hip impairment, arthritis, migraines,
thyroid impairment, and adjustment disorder. Tr. at p. 56.
applied for Disability Insurance Benefits on October 2, 2017.
Tr. at pp. 147-158. Her application was denied. Tr. at pp.
74-83. Plaintiff requested a hearing, and a hearing was held
on July 19, 2018 before Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Bruce Fein at which Plaintiff was
accompanied by a representative and testified. Tr. at pp.
28-54. The ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not
disabled on August 31, 2018. Tr. at pp. 7-27. Plaintiff
requested review of the ALJ's determination, and the
Appeals Council denied the request for review on August 2,
2018. Tr. at pp. 1-4. Plaintiff filed her Complaint in this
action on December 28, 2018. Dkt. No. 1.
The ALJ's Decision
in his decision, the ALJ made the following seven findings of
fact and conclusions of law. First, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff meets the insured status requirements of the Social
Security Act through December 31, 2021. Tr. at p. 12. Second,
the ALJ found that Plaintiff did not engage in substantial
gainful activity since the alleged onset date of December 15,
2015. Id. Third, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's
had the following severe impairments: hip osteoarthritis, low
back pain, neck pain, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and an
adjustment disorder with anxiety and depression. Tr. at pp.
12-14. Fourth, the ALJ found that Plaintiff did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that meets or
medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R.
§ 404, Subpart P, App. 1 (the “Listings”).
Tr. at pp. 14-16. Fifth, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform
sedentary work except
she can occasionally climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch,
and crawl; can perform a low stress job defined as only
occasional decision-making, changes in the work setting, and
judgment required; and can have occasional interaction with
co-workers, supervisors, and the public.
Tr. at pp. 16-21. Sixth, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is
unable to perform her past relevant work. Tr. at p. 21. The
ALJ found that Plaintiff was born on September 24, 1978 and
was 37 years old, which is defined as a younger individual
age 18-44 on the alleged disability onset date, and that she
has at least a high school education and is able to
communicate in English. Id. The ALJ found that
transferability of job skills is not material to the
determination of disability because using the
Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding
Plaintiff is “not disabled, ” whether or not she
has transferable job skills. Id. The ALJ found that
considering Plaintiff's age, education, work experience,
and RFC, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in
the national economy that Plaintiff can perform. Tr. at pp.
21-22. Seventh, and last, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff
has not been under a disability from December 15, 2015,
through the date of his decision. Tr. at p. 22.
The Parties' Briefings on Their Cross-Motions
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, Plaintiff makes two
arguments. Dkt. No. 7, Pl.'s Mem. of Law,
generally. Plaintiff first contends that the RFC is
not supported by substantial evidence because the ALJ
improperly assessed the medical source statements of Dr.
Allam and Dr. Grewal. Id. at pp. 5-9. Plaintiff
contends that the ALJ failed to substantiate his analysis of
the opinions and failed to discuss certain of the factors
outlined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(c). Id.
Second, Plaintiff contends that the ALJ failed to include
functional limitations stemming from the medically
determinable impairment of carpal tunnel syndrome when
formulating the RFC. Id. at pp. 9-13. Plaintiff
contends that it was error for the ALJ to not find
Plaintiff's carpal tunnel syndrome to be severe, and for
the ALJ to fail to discuss the effects of the medically
determinable impairment. Id.
response, Defendant contends that the ALJ discussed
Plaintiff's carpal tunnel syndrome in detail and that
substantial evidence supports his finding that it was not
severe and that even if it were, finding it not severe would
be a harmless error because the ALJ found Plaintiff had other
severe impairments. Dkt. No. 10, Def.'s Mem. of Law, pp.
6-9. Defendant contends that the ALJ's RFC is supported
by substantial evidence, and that the ALJ adequately
considered the medical opinions and sufficiently explained
the weight he assigned to them. Id. at pp. 9-16.