Watson v. Colvin

Filing 18

DECISION AND ORDER granting in part and denying in part 7 Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings remanding the case to the Commissioner for further administrative proceedings consistent with this Decision and Order and the Report an d Recommendation; denying 12 Commissioner's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; adopting Report and Recommendations re 16 Report and Recommendations in its entirety. (Clerk to close case.) Signed by Hon. Michael A. Telesca on 3/22/17. (JMC)-CLERK TO FOLLOW UP-

Download PDF
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK STEVEN WATSON, 14-CV-390 DECISION AND ORDER Plaintiff, -vsNANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant. I. Introduction Plaintiff Steven Watson (“plaintiff”) brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), claiming that Defendant Nancy A. Berryhill, the Acting Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner” or “defendant”), improperly denied his applications for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) and disabled widower’s benefits (“DWB”). Currently before the Court are the parties’ competing for motions judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. On February 16, 2017, Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) (Docket No. 16), with which the parties’ familiarity is assumed, recommending that plaintiff’s motion be denied in part and granted in part, that defendant’s motion be denied, and that the case be remanded to the Commissioner for further administrative proceedings. As discussed further below, the Court agrees with Judge Roemer’s findings and adopts the Report and Recommendation in its entirety. II. Discussion When specific objections are made to a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation, the district judge makes a “de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). When no objections or only general objections are made, the district judge reviews the report and recommendation for clear error or manifest injustice. E.g., DiPilato v. 7-Eleven, Inc., 662 F. Supp. 2d 333, 339 (S.D.N.Y. 2009). After conducting the appropriate review, the district court may “accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). In this case, neither party has filed any objections to Judge Roemer’s R&R. As a result, the Court reviews the R&R only for clear error. Plaintiff filed his applications for DIB and DWB on July 14, 2011. Administrative Transcript (“T.”) 194-207. Plaintiff alleged that he became disabled on December 26, 2007, as a result of back problems, leg problems, shoulder problems, depression, and anxiety. Id. Plaintiff’s applications were denied on October 6, 2011. T. 117-124. At plaintiff’s request, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Marilyn D. Zahm conducted a hearing on October 19, 2012, during which she took testimony from plaintiff and Vocational Expert Jay A. Steinbrenner. T. 67-108. At the hearing, plaintiff amended the alleged onset fate of his disability to January 1, -2- 2009. T. 41. The ALJ subsequently issued a decision denying plaintiff’s claim for benefits. T. 41-58. On April 17, 2014, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff’s request for review, making the ALJ’s determination the Commissioner’s final decision. T. 1-4. Plaintiff then commenced this action. Plaintiff argues in his motion for judgment on the pleadings that the ALJ violated the treating physician rule by affording limited weight to Dr. Kowalski’s opinion that plaintiff could stand and walk for less than two hours per day, that the ALJ’s determination that plaintiff is capable of light work was not supported by substantial properly assess consideration to evidence, plaintiff’s his and that credibility positive work or history. the ALJ give Judge did not adequate Roemer considered each of these arguments in the R&R and found the following: (1)the ALJ did not violate the treating physician rule; (2)the ALJ’s determination that plaintiff is capable of light work was not supported by substantial evidence because she made no finding as to how much plaintiff could stand or walk at one time or total over the course of an eight hour work day, and because additional development of the record is necessary as to this point; and (3)the Court need not reach plaintiff’s arguments regarding credibility/work history, but the Commissioner should be instructed on remand to reconsider these findings in light of the record as a whole. Judge Roemer’s findings are well-supported by the record and applicable law. Having found no error in the R&R, clear or otherwise, the Court adopts it in its entirety. -3- III. Conclusion For the reasons set forth in Judge Roemer’s thorough and well-reasoned R&R, the undersigned adopts all of his conclusions. The R&R (Docket No. 16) is hereby adopted in its entirety. The Commissioner’s motion for judgment on the pleadings (Docket No. 12) is denied, plaintiff’s motion for judgment on the pleadings (Docket No. 7) is denied in part and granted in part, and the case is remanded to the Commissioner for further administrative proceedings consistent with this Decision and Order and the R&R. The Clerk of Court is directed to close this case. IT IS SO ORDERED. s/Michael A. Telesca __________________________ MICHAEL A. TELESCA United States District Judge Dated: March 22, 2017 Rochester, New York -4-

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?