United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
OPINION AND ORDER
Donetta W. Ambrose United States Senior District Judge.
Melissa Hredocik ("Hredocik") brings this action
seeking judicial review of the ALJ's decision denying a
claim for supplemental security income ("SSI").
Hredocik filed an application in June of 2013 alleging a
disability as of the date of her birth due to autism. (R.
She appeared and testified at a hearing on October 15, 2014,
as did a vocational expert. (R. 24-55). Ultimately, the ALJ
denied the claim, finding Hredocik capable of performing a
full range of work at all exertional levels subject to some
nonexertional limitations. (R. 15-20) Hredocik appealed.
Pending are Cross Motions for Summary Judgment. See ECF
docket nos. 13 and 15. After careful consideration, the
decision rendered by the ALJ is affirmed.
standard of review in social security cases is whether
substantial evidence exists in the record to support the
Commissioner's decision. Allen v. Bowen, 881
F.2d 37, 39 (3d Cir. 1989). Substantial evidence has been
defined as "more than a mere scintilla. It means such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate." Ventura v. Shalala, 55 F.3d 900, 901
(3d Cir. 1995), quoting Richardson v. Perales, 402
U.S. 389, 401 (1971). Determining whether substantial
evidence exists is "not merely a quantitative
exercise." Gilliland v. Heckler 786 F.2d 178,
183 (3d Cir. 1986) (citing Kent v. Schweiker 710
F.2d 110, 114 (3d Cir. 1983)). "A single piece of
evidence will not satisfy the substantiality test if the
secretary ignores, or fails to resolve, a conflict created by
countervailing evidence. Nor is evidence substantial if it is
overwhelmed by other evidence - particularly certain types of
evidence (e.g., that offered by treating physicians)."
Id., The Commissioner's findings of fact, if
supported by substantial evidence, are conclusive. 42 U.S.C.
§405(g); Dobrowolsky v. Califano, 606 F.2d 403,
406 (3d Cir. 1979). A district court cannot conduct a de novo
review of the Commissioner's decision or re-weigh the
evidence of record. Palmer v. Apfel, 995 F.Supp.
549, 552 (E.D. Pa. 1998). Where the ALJ's findings of
fact are supported by substantial evidence, a court is bound
by those findings, even if the court would have decided the
factual inquiry differently. Hartranft v. Apfel, 181
F.3d 358, 360 (3d Cir. 1999). To determine whether a finding
is supported by substantial evidence, however, the district
court must review the record as a whole. See, 5
3 - Listing 12.10
stated above, at Step 3 of the sequential analysis, the ALJ
must determine whether a claimant's impairments meet or
equal a listed impairment. If so, the claimant is disabled.
If not, the analysis continues. Here, the ALJ found that the
"severity of the claimant's autism does not meet or
medically equal the criteria of listing 12.10." (R. 14)
Listing 12.10 establishes, in relevant part, the following
criteria that a claimant must meet in order to qualify as
A. Medically documented findings of the following:
1. For autistic disorder, all of the following:
a. Qualitative deficits in reciprocal social interaction; and
b. Qualitative deficits in verbal and non-verbal
communication and in imaginative activity; and
c. Markedly restricted repertoire of activities and