Traufler v. Astrue
DECISION and ORDER: The Court ACCEPTS and ADOPTS Magistrate Judge Hines' 12 Report and Recommendation. This matter is REMANDED to the Commissioner pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for further administrative proceedings consistent with this opinion and Magistrate Judge Hines Report and Recommendation. Signed by Senior Judge Thomas J. McAvoy on 3/15/2013. (mgh)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
-------------------------------MIRANDA J. TRAUFLER,
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE,
-------------------------------THOMAS J. McAVOY
Senior United States District Judge
DECISION and ORDER
This action brought pursuant to the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g),
1383(c)(3), was referred to the Hon. Earl S. Hines, United States Magistrate Judge, for
a Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule
N.D.N.Y. 72.3(c). The Report and Recommendation dated November 30, 2012
recommends that the decision of the Commissioner be reversed and remanded for
further consideration. Defendant filed timely objections to the Report and
STANDARD OF REVIEW
When objections to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation are lodged,
the district court makes a “de novo determination of those portions of the report or
specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” See 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Portions of the Report and Recommendation to which no
objections are lodged are reviewed for clear error or manifest injustice. After this
review, the Court may “accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate judge. The judge may also receive further
evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.” 28 U.S.C. §
Magistrate Judge Hines found that the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) did not
apply the correct standard at step 2 of the sequential analysis, and that this error
infected subsequent findings at steps 4 and 5. Rep. Rec. pp. 11-13. In this regard,
Magistrate Judge Hines concluded that the ALJ erred by failing to specifically consider
Plaintiff’s nonexertional limitations1 in determining Plaintiff’s residual functional capacity
and her ability to perform work in the national economy. Id. pp. 12-13.
The Court has considered the Commissioner’s objections but has determined to
accept Magistrate Judge Hine’s recommendation for the reasons stated therein. The
Court is cognizant that although it must give deference to the Commissioner’s decision,
the Act is ultimately “‘a remedial statute which must be “liberally applied;” its intent is
inclusion rather than exclusion.’” Vargas v. Sullivan, 898 F.2d 293, 296 (2d Cir.
1990)(quoting Rivera v. Schweiker, 717 F.2d 719, 723 (2d Cir. 1983)). Moreover,
where the Commissioner has applied an incorrect legal standard, the decision cannot
stand. See Tejada v. Apfel, 167 F.3d 770, 773 (2d Cir. 1999); Balsamo v. Chater, 142
At page 12, Magistrate Judge Hines discusses Plaintiff’s uncontrolled asthma and depression.
F.3d 75, 79 (2d Cir. 1998); Cruz v. Sullivan, 912 F.2d 8, 11 (2d Cir. 1990); Shane v.
Chater, No. 96-CV-66, 1997 WL 426203, at *4 (N.D.N.Y July 16, 1997)(Pooler,
J.)(citing Johnson v. Bowen, 817 F.2d 983, 986 (2d Cir. 1987))
For the reasons discussed above, the Court ACCEPTS and ADOPTS Magistrate
Judge Hines’ Report and Recommendation. This matter is REMANDED to the
Commissioner pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for further administrative
proceedings consistent with this opinion and Magistrate Judge Hines’ Report and
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dared: March 15, 2013
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