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.

Kami B., v. Saul

United States District Court, N.D. New York

January 16, 2020

KAMI B., Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW M. SAUL,[1] Comm'r of Soc. Sec., Defendant.

          LAW OFFICES OF STEVEN R. DOLSON Counsel for Plaintiff

          U.S. SOCIAL SECURITY ADMIN OFFICE OF REGIONAL GENERAL COUNSEL REGION II Counsel for Defendant

          OF COUNSEL: STEVEN R. DOLSON, ESQ. JAMES DESIR, ESQ.

          DECISION AND ORDER [2]

          DANIEL J. STEWART United States Magistrate Judge

         Currently 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.

         I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff 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.”), [3] 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.

         B. Procedural History

         Plaintiff 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.

         C. The ALJ's Decision

         Generally, 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.

         D. The Parties' Briefings on Their Cross-Motions

         In her 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.

         In 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.

         II. RELEVANT ...


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.