United States District Court, D. Connecticut
Anton Mardoian, Plaintiff, represented by Charles E. Binder,
Law Offices of Harry J. Binder & Charles E. Binder, P.C..
Carolyn W. Colvin, Defendant, represented by Molly E. Carter,
Social Security Administration-General Counsel & Jason
W.Valencia, Social Security Administration-General Counsel.
RECOMMENDED RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS
F. MARTINEZ, Magistrate Judge.
Bryan Anton Mardoian, seeks judicial review of the final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
("Commissioner") denying his application for
disability insurance benefits
("DIB"). An Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ") held a hearing on October 17, 2011, and
determined that plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning
of the Social Security Act. Plaintiff timely appealed
to this court.
pending are plaintiff's motion to reverse the decision of
the Commissioner (doc. #12) and defendant's motion to
affirm the decision of the Commissioner. (Doc. #17.) On
August 3, 2015, pursuant to the court's order, counsel
filed a joint stipulation of facts and medical chronology,
which I incorporate by reference. (Doc. #20.) For the
following reasons, I recommend that plaintiff's motion be
GRANTED and defendant's motion be DENIED.
standards for determining an individual's entitlement to
DIB, the Commissioner's five-step framework for
evaluating claims, and the district court's review of the
final decision of the Commissioner are well-settled. I am
following those standards, but do not repeat them here.
argues that the ALJ failed to follow the treating physician
rule by assigning less than controlling weight to the opinion
of his primary care physician, Dr. Leon Rapko. He also argues
that the ALJ should have given greater weight to the opinion
of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Balazs Somogyi than to the opinions
of the non-examining state agency physicians. Defendant
responds that substantial evidence to support the ALJ's
decision can be found in the non-examining state agency
the "treating physician rule, " a treating
physician's opinion is accorded controlling weight when
it is "well-supported by medically acceptable clinical
and laboratory diagnostic techniques and is not inconsistent
with the other substantial evidence in [the] record." 20
C.F.R. Â§ 404.1527(c)(2). The ALJ must "give good
reasons" for the weight accorded to the treating
physician's opinion. See Halloran, 362 F.3d at 32; see
also 20 C.F.R. Â§ 404.1527(c)(2) ("We will always give
good reasons in our notice of determination or decision for
the weight we give your treating source's
opinion."); Social Security Ruling ("SSR")
96-2p, 1996 WL 374188, at *5 (July 2, 1996) (ALJ's
decision "must contain specific reasons for the weight
given to the treating source's medical opinion, supported
by the evidence in the case record, and must be sufficiently
specific to make clear to any subsequent reviewers the weight
the adjudicator gave to the treating source's medical
opinion and the reasons for that weight.").
controlling weight is not given to a treating source's
opinion, the ALJ must consider certain factors in determining
the weight to be assigned. Those factors include: (1) the
length of the treatment relationship and the frequency of
examination; (2) the nature and extent of the treatment
relationship; (3) the supportability of the opinion; (4) the
opinion's consistency with the record; (5) the treating
physician's specialization, if any; and (6) other factors
brought to the ALJ's attention. 20 C.F.R. Â§
404.1527(c)(2); see also Greek v. Colvin, No.
14-3799, 2015 WL 5515261, at *3 (2d Cir. Sep. 21, 2015)
("[T]o override the opinion of the treating physician,
we have held that the ALJ must explicitly consider"
the ALJ did not assign controlling weight to Dr. Rapko's
opinion. Describing it as "conclusory and
against the weight of the record as a whole, " she
[t]he conclusions reached are not supported anywhere in the
medical evidence record by medically acceptable signs,
symptoms, and/or laboratory findings. A review of the exhibit
file fails to identify any subjective or objective medical
findings supporting the conclusion that the claimant is
limited to less than sedentary work. As such, these findings
are not accorded the controlling weigh[t] usually given to
treating source opinion[s] regarding residual functional
capacity. Nonetheless, these observations and findings are
not ignored ...