United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
B. Fitzmaurice, Esq. Penelope E. Gronbeck, Esq.
J. MCAULIFFE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3), claimant,
Kristen Inserra, moves to reverse or vacate the Acting
Commissioner's decision denying her applications for
Disability Insurance Benefits under Title II of the Social
Security Act and Supplemental Security Income Benefits under
Title XVI. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 423, 1381-1383c
(collectively, the “Act”). Claimant asserts,
among other things, that the ALJ failed to give appropriate
weight to the opinions of her treating physician. The Acting
Commissioner objects and moves for an order affirming her
reasons discussed below, claimant's motion is granted,
and the Acting Commissioner's motion is denied.
September of 2013, claimant filed applications for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”), alleging that she was
disabled and had been unable to work since July 18, 2013.
Claimant was 42 years old at the time and had acquired
sufficient quarters of coverage to remain insured through
December 31, 2017. Claimant's applications were denied
and she requested a hearing before an Administrative Law
January of 2016, claimant, her attorney, and an impartial
vocational expert appeared before an ALJ, who considered
claimant's applications de novo. Seven weeks later, the
ALJ issued his written decision, concluding that claimant was
not disabled, as that term is defined in the Act, at any time
prior to the date of his decision. Claimant then requested
review by the Appeals Council. That request was denied.
Accordingly, the ALJ's denial of claimant's
applications for benefits became the final decision of the
Acting Commissioner, subject to judicial review.
Subsequently, claimant filed a timely action in this court,
asserting that the ALJ's decision is not supported by
then filed a “Motion to Reverse” the decision of
the Commissioner (document no. 7). In response, the Acting
Commissioner filed a “Motion for an Order Affirming the
Decision of the Commissioner” (document no. 11). Those
motions are pending.
to this court's Local Rule 9.1, the parties have
submitted a joint statement of stipulated facts which,
because it is part of the court's record (document no.
12), need not be recounted in this opinion. Those facts
relevant to the disposition of this matter are discussed as
“Substantial Evidence” and Deferential Review.
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the court is empowered “to
enter, upon the pleadings and transcript of the record, a
judgment affirming, modifying, or reversing the decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security, with or without
remanding the cause for a rehearing.” Factual findings
and credibility determinations made by the Commissioner are
conclusive if supported by substantial evidence. See 42
U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3). See also Irlanda
Ortiz v. Secretary of Health & Human Services, 955 F.2d
765, 769 (1st Cir. 1991). Substantial evidence is “such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.” Consolidated
Edison Co. v. NLRB,305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938).
Importantly, it is something less than a preponderance of the
evidence, so the possibility of drawing two inconsistent
conclusions from the ...