The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARTIN JENKINS, District Judge
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Before the Court are cross-motions for summary judgment in a
Social Security appeal brought by Plaintiff Peter M. Cooper and
Defendant Jo Anne B. Barnhart, Commissioner of the Social
Security Administration. These motions require the Court to
determine if (1) substantial evidence exists in support of the
Administrative Law Judge's decision, and (2) correct legal
standards were applied. For the reasons set forth below, the
Court SHOULD GRANT Defendant's motion and DENY Plaintiff's
On March 17, 2000, Plaintiff filed an application for
Disability Insurance Benefits under Title II of the Social
Security Act. The Social Security Administration ("SSA") denied
the initial application on May 30, 2000 and upon reconsideration
on July 3, 2000. Plaintiff appeared, pro se, before an
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") on March 15, 2000. After the
hearing, the ALJ denied Plaintiff's application concluding that Plaintiff was not
disabled. The ALJ's decision became final when the Appeals
Council declined Plaintiff's request for review on May 17, 2002.
Plaintiff then filed this action for judicial review pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Plaintiff contends that (1) the ALJ's
findings and conclusions are not supported by substantial
evidence, and (2) incorrect legal standards were applied in the
determination of the ultimate issues against Plaintiff.
Plaintiff was 56 years old at the time of the hearing on March
15, 2001. (Transcript ("TR"), 38). He was educated in England,
but left school at the age of fifteen to learn a trade as a
machinist. (Tr. 51). Plaintiff currently resides in San
Francisco. (Tr. 59). From January 1992 through November 27, 1999,
he was employed as owner and manager of a bar. (Tr. 95). On
August 1, 1995, Plaintiff was involved in an automobile accident.
He continued to work until November 27, 1999, the day plaintiff
sold the bar. Plaintiff filed for disability insurance benefits
on March 17, 2000, alleging inability to work since November 27,
1999 due to brain injury and seizures resulting from the 1995
accident. Medical treatment records from Kaiser Permanente
indicated that Plaintiff had a post-traumatic seizure disorder
that was being treated with Dilantin.*fn1 (Tr. 136).
On November 5, 1999, Kenneth Ip, M.D. performed an operation on
Plaintiff's left eye to remove a cataract. There were no
complications (Tr. 127), and no further difficulties with the eye
are indicated in the records.
Tania Shertock, Ph.D., performed a psychological evaluation of
Plaintiff in April 2000. She concluded that Plaintiff had no
limitations that would have precluded him from performing his
past work. Dr. Shertock noted that Plaintiff was able to relate
well in the interview and would be able to appropriately interact
with supervisors and co-workers in a job setting. (Tr. 143).
Edward Gallagher, M.D., a non-examining State agency physician,
reviewed the records and concluded that Plaintiff had no physical
limitations (Tr. 149-156) except for a need to avoid exposure to
hazards such as machinery and heights. (Tr. 153).
Robert E. Lee, M.D., a non-examining State agency psychiatrist,
reviewed the record and concluded that Plaintiff had no severe mental impairment. (Tr.
At the administrative hearing, Plaintiff testified that since
the automobile accident several years ago he has had seizures
once every six months, lasting about five minutes and
characterized by shaking and passing out. (Tr. 16). Plaintiff
stated that he is deaf in the left ear and that he has problems
using his left elbow for lifting. (Tr. 16).
Plaintiff complained of having recurrent problems with
dizziness. He alleges suffering on a daily basis due to issues
with his equilibrium, stumbling and the inability to walk a
straight line. (Tr.16). Yet, he admitted to having no difficulty
sitting, walking "a lot," swimming, going to the theater, working
out, and lifting between 20 and 50 pounds. (Tr. 18). The
Vocational Expert indicated that the above-mentioned activities
would be tantamount to work at a "medium exertional level." (Tr.
21). He further testified that Plaintiff's employment as either a
bartender or manager was "light exertional work." Therefore, the
ALJ reasoned that any claimant who has the ability to ...