Cooke v. Colvin

Social Services Law

New York Law Journal


Judge Frederic Block

Hit by a car when he was 15, Cooke injured his leg and knee. He worked on the New York Stock Exchange between 1982 and 2002. After his June 9, 2010, application for social security disability insurance benefits was denied Cooke sought a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). In finding Cooke not disabled from June 1, 2007, through Dec. 31, 2009, the ALJ found that Cooke had residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform the full range of unskilled sedentary work. The Appeals Council denied review. Denying the social security commissioner summary judgment, district court remanded Cooke's case to the commissioner for further proceedings. The court agreed with Cooke that the ALJ violated the treating physician rule and failed to properly analyze his credibility in determining his RFC. The ALJ's 10 reasons for according only slight weight to the medical opinion of Cooke's treating physician were deemed inaccurate, improper or too weak to support the ALJ's determination. Because the ALJ improperly discounted the opinion of Cooke's treating physician in determining his RFC, the ALJ must reconsider the credibility of Cooke's subjective complaints about his symptoms as well as their intensity, persistence and limiting effects.

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