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Bramlett v. Astrue

August 18, 2008

DENISE BRAMLETT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE*FN1, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Craig M. Kellison United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, who is proceeding with retained counsel, brings this action for judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Pursuant to the consent of the parties, this case is before the undersigned for final decision on plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 17) and defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment (Doc. 19).

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff applied for social security benefits on September 13, 2004. In her application, plaintiff claims that disability began on January 31, 1997. Plaintiff claims her disability consists of a combination of back pain, carpal tunnel in both hands and left knee pain. Plaintiff's claim was initially denied. Following denial of her request for reconsideration, plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, which was held on March 1, 2006, before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Antonio Acevedo Torres. In his May 25, 2006, decision, the ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity at any time relevant to this decision (20 CFR 416.920(b) and 416.971 et seq.).

2. The claimant has the following severe combination of impairments: carpal tunnel syndrome and mild back strain (20 CFR 416.920(c)).

3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).

4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to stand, walk and sit six hours in an eight-hour day, and lift and carry 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds occasionally.

5. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965). 6. The claimant was born on January 29, 1962 and is 44 years of age, which is defined as a younger individual 18-44 (20 CFR 416.963).

7. The claimant has a limited education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).

8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work (20 CFR 416.968).

9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 416.960(c) and 416.966).

10. The claimant has not been under a "disability," as defined in the Social Security Act, at any time through the date of this decision (20 CFR 416.920(g)).

After the Appeals Council declined review on July 18, 2006, this appeal followed.

II. SUMMARY OF THE EVIDENCE

Plaintiff provides the following summary of the evidence, which the court accepts:

Sacramento County Clinic Services

July 16, 1998, progress notes indicated that Ms. Bramlett presented with bilateral hand and wrist pain. She reported tingling and numbness that extended to her fingers, and she denied any injury. Examination indicated that Ms. Bramlett had mild tenderness, and was positive for Phalen's signs, and negative for Tinel's sign. Ms. Bramlett was assessed with bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. It was indicated that she could ...


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