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.

Perez v. Berryhill

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

February 20, 2018

MARIA PEREZ
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, ACTING COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

          RULING ON CROSS MOTIONS

          HON. SARAH A. L. MERRIAM, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Maria Perez (“plaintiff”), brings this appeal under §205(g) of the Social Security Act (the “Act”), as amended, 42 U.S.C. §405(g), seeking review of a final decision by the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the “Commissioner” or “defendant”) denying her applications for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under the Act. Plaintiff has moved for an order reversing the decision of the Commissioner. [Doc. #27].

         For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff's Second Motion for Order Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner [Doc. #27] is GRANTED, to the extent plaintiff seeks a remand for further administrative proceedings. Defendant's Motion for an Order Affirming the Decision of the Commissioner [Doc. #29] is DENIED.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff filed concurrent applications for DIB and SSI on June 17, 2013, alleging disability beginning on June 6, 2012. See Certified Transcript of the Administrative Record, Doc. #28, compiled on December 23, 2016, (hereinafter “Tr.”[1]) 253-68.[2]Plaintiff's applications were denied initially on October 16, 2013, see Tr. 164-73, and upon reconsideration on November 14, 2013. See Tr. 174-77, 179-82.

         On April 23, 2015, plaintiff, represented by Attorney Veronica Halpine, appeared and testified at a hearing before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Alexander Borré. See Tr. 32-80; see also Tr. 212. Vocational Expert (“VE”) Jeffrey Joy also testified at the hearing by telephone. See Tr. 70-78; see also Tr. 245-46. On June 15, 2015, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. See Tr. 10-31. On December 4, 2015, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review, thereby making the ALJ's June 15, 2015, decision the final decision of the Commissioner. See Tr. 1-6. The case is now ripe for review under 42 U.S.C. §405(g).

         Plaintiff timely filed this action for review and now moves to reverse the Commissioner's decision. [Doc. #27]. On appeal, plaintiff argues:

1. The ALJ erred by failing to consider two State of Connecticut Department of Social Services (“DSS”) disability determinations and two treating source opinions;
2. The ALJ erred by basing his decision on the opinions of state medical and psychological consultants who did not have the benefit of plaintiff's treatment records;
3. The ALJ's residual functional capacity (“RFC”) determination is not supported by substantial evidence;
4. The ALJ erred at step two of the sequential evaluation by failing to find certain of plaintiff's impairments severe;
5. The ALJ's step four determination is not supported by substantial evidence;
6. The ALJ failed to develop the record because he did not provide a Spanish interpreter at the administrative hearing;
7. The ALJ erred in his credibility analysis of plaintiff; and
8. The ALJ failed to provide plaintiff with in-person testimony by a VE at the administrative hearing and failed to provide notice of the VE who would appear at that hearing.

See generally Doc. #27-1 at 12-39. As set forth below, the Court finds that ALJ Borré erred by failing to consider certain evidence.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The review of a Social Security disability determination involves two levels of inquiry. First, the Court must decide whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal principles in making the determination. Second, the Court must decide whether the determination is supported by substantial evidence. See Balsamo v. Chater, 142 F.3d 75, 79 (2d Cir. 1998) (citation omitted). Substantial evidence is evidence that a reasonable mind would accept as adequate to support a conclusion; it is more than a “mere scintilla.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)). The reviewing court's responsibility is to ensure that a claim has been fairly evaluated by the ALJ. See Grey v. Heckler, 721 F.2d 41, 46 (2d Cir. 1983) (citation omitted).

         The Court does not reach the second stage of review - evaluating whether substantial evidence supports the ALJ's conclusion - if the Court determines that the ALJ failed to apply the law correctly. See Norman v. Astrue, 912 F.Supp.2d 33, 70 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) (“The Court first reviews the Commissioner's decision for compliance with the correct legal standards; only then does it determine whether the Commissioner's conclusions were supported by substantial evidence.” (citing Tejada v. Apfel,167 F.3d 770, 773-74 (2d Cir. 1999))). “Where there is a reasonable basis for doubt whether the ALJ applied correct legal principles, application of the substantial evidence standard to uphold a finding of no disability creates an ...


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.