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Moore v. Astrue

May 13, 2009

MARIAN L. MOORE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rosalyn M. Chapman United States Magistrate Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Marian L. Moore filed a complaint on March 12, 2008, seeking review of the Commissioner's decision denying her application for disability benefits. On July 24, 2008, the Commissioner answered the complaint, and the parties filed a joint stipulation on November 3, 2008.

BACKGROUND

I.

On August 20, 2004 (protective filing date), plaintiff applied for disability benefits under the Supplemental Security Income program ("SSI") of Title XVI of the Social Security Act ("Act"), claiming an inability to work due to lupus and chronic depression. Certified Administrative Record ("A.R.") 19, 50, 60. The plaintiff's application was initially denied on April 14, 2005, and, following reconsideration, was denied again on August 21, 2005. A.R. 37-48. The plaintiff then requested an administrative hearing, which was held before Administrative Law Judge Sally C. Reason ("the ALJ") on May 22, 2006. A.R. 49, 164-86. On June 21, 2006, the ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff is not disabled. A.R. 16-25. The plaintiff appealed this decision to the Appeals Council, which denied review on January 22, 2008. A.R. 5-8, 15.

II.

The plaintiff, who was born on May 13, 1969, is currently 40 years old. A.R. 166, 168. She has an eleventh- or twelfth-grade education,*fn1 and previously worked as a data collector, telemarketer, and cashier/checker. A.R. 61-62, 64, 100, 166, 168-70.

David Mohamadi, M.D., treated plaintiff between April 22, 2002, and May 18, 2006, and diagnosed her with systemic lupus erythematosus,*fn2 inflammatory joint disease, myalgia, and obesity, among other conditions.*fn3 A.R. 116-26, 138-54. On May 18, 2006, Dr. Mohamadi opined plaintiff's "physical function is limited to 2-3 [hours] of work per day and no lifting over 20 [pounds]." A.R. 138.

On December 16, 2002, April 29, 2003, and May 27, 2005, Albert R. Katz, M.D., a rheumatologist, examined plaintiff and diagnosed her with systemic lupus erythematosus and fibromyalgia.*fn4 A.R. 114, 156-57.

On February 23, 2005, Alexander Michaelson, M.D., an internist, examined plaintiff and diagnosed her with lupus, generalized arthralgia, back pain with decreased range of motion and minimal muscle tenderness, and moderate obesity. A.R. 101-05. Dr. Michaelson opined:

[plaintiff] is able to push, pull, lift, and carry 50 pounds occasionally and 25 pounds frequently. Walking and standing can be done six hours in an eight-hour workday with normal breaks. No assistive devices are required for ambulation. Sitting is unrestricted. Postural activities, i.e., bending, kneeling, stooping, crawling, and crouching can be done on an occasional basis. Activities requiring agility, such as walking on uneven terrain, working at heights, and climbing ladders can be done on an occasional basis. Use of hands for fine and gross manipulative movements is unrestricted. Hearing and seeing are unrestricted. There are no environmental restrictions.

A.R. 104.

DISCUSSION

...


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