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Hamilton v. Colvin

United States District Court, Third Circuit

January 27, 2014

JOHN HAMILTON, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION RE: PARTIES' CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC NOS. 10 AND 12)

ARTHUR J. SCHWAB, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff, John Hamilton ("Plaintiff"), brings this action pursuant to the Social Security Act (the "Act"), seeking judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying his application for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") and supplemental security income ("SSI"). The parties have filed Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment on the record developed at the administrative proceedings. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 10) will be denied, the Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 12) will be granted, and the administrative decision of the Commissioner will be affirmed.

II. Procedural History

Plaintiff protectively filed applications for DIB and SSI on July 28, 2009, alleging disability as of June 1, 2009. R. 36-39. Plaintiff amended his application on August 20, 2009, changing the onset date of his disability to July 15, 2007. R. 40-41. The application was denied by the state agency on August 24, 2009. R. 50-53. Plaintiff responded on November 17, 2009, by filing a timely request for an administrative hearing. R. 58-59. On April 8, 2011, a hearing was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Alma S. de Leon. R. 12-19. Plaintiff, who was represented by counsel, appeared and testified. R. 100-114.

In a decision dated April 15, 2011, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff was not "disabled" within the meaning of the Act. R. 12-19. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on April 23, 2012, thereby making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner in this case. R. 7-9. Plaintiff commenced the present action on August 27, 2013, seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's decision. Doc. No. 1. Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on December 10, 2013. Doc. No. 10. The Commissioner filed a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment on January 9, 2014. Doc. No. 12. These Motions are ripe for disposition and are the subject of this Memorandum Opinion.

III. Statement of the Case

In her decision, the ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on December 31, 2007.
2. Through December 31, 2007, the claimant engaged in substantial gainful activity during the following periods: July 15, 2007 through December 31, 2007, the date last insured (20 CFR 404.1420(b) and 404.1571 et seq. ).
3. Through December 31, 2007, there was no continuous 12-month period during which the claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity.
4. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, at any time from July 15, 2007, the alleged onset date, through December 31, 2007, the date last insured (20 CFR 404.1520(b)).

R. 15-19.

IV. Standard of ...


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