Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Purtle v. Astrue

May 26, 2009

MICHAEL PURTLE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer T. Lum United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

PROCEEDINGS

On August 12, 2008, Michael Purtle ("plaintiff") filed a Complaint seeking review of the Social Security Administration's denial of his applications for Supplemental Security Income benefits and Disability Insurance Benefits. On September 10, 2008, plaintiff filed a Consent to Proceed Before United States Magistrate Judge Jennifer T. Lum. On November 3, 2008, Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security ("defendant"), filed a Consent to Proceed Before United States Magistrate Judge Jennifer T. Lum. Thereafter, on February 4, 2009, defendant filed an Answer to the Complaint. On May 1, 2009, the parties filed their Joint Stipulation.

The matter is now ready for decision.

BACKGROUND

On April 12, 2003, plaintiff filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits. On December 31, 2001, plaintiff had protectively filed an application for Supplemental Security Income benefits. In both applications, plaintiff alleged a disability onset date of January 3, 2001, due to major depression and heart disease. (See Administrative Record ["AR"] at 12, 44, 87-89, 97, 510). The Commissioner denied plaintiff's applications for benefits both initially and upon reconsideration. (AR at 44-45, 52, 59, 510, 511).

Thereafter, on July 14, 2003, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") dismissed plaintiff's request for a hearing, finding that plaintiff had failed to file the request in a timely manner and had not shown good cause to extend the time for filing the request. (See AR at 46, 48-49). Plaintiff then sought review of the dismissal. (AR at 63, 65). The Appeals Council granted review, finding that plaintiff's claim file did not contain a request for hearing and, thus, it could not determine whether the dismissal was supported by substantial evidence. (AR at 68). The Appeals Council noted that plaintiff had subsequently filed claims for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits on August 20, 2004, plaintiff was found to have met the requirements of Listing 12.04 of the Commissioner's Listing of Impairments, 20 C.F.R. Section 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1, and plaintiff's disability began on August 1, 2003. (AR at 68; see AR at 50, 66, 515). Thus, the Appeals Council remanded the case to the ALJ with instructions to obtain the request for hearing from plaintiff, offer plaintiff an opportunity for a hearing, and issue a new decision on the issue of plaintiff's disability during the period prior to August 1, 2003. (AR at 68-69, 51).

On December 19, 2006, the ALJ conducted a hearing in San Bernardino, California. (See AR at 521-52). Plaintiff appeared at the hearing with counsel and testified. (AR at 530-33, 538-44, 547-48). A medical expert, Joseph Malancharuvil, M.D., and a vocational expert, Corinne Porter, also testified at the hearing. (AR at 525-30, 532-37, 541-42, 544, 545-46, 547-51). On April 19, 2007, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits to plaintiff. (AR at 12-21). In his decision, the ALJ determined that plaintiff had the following severe combination of impairments between January 3, 2001 and July 31, 2003, the closed period subject to review ("closed period"): a depressive disorder, not otherwise specified, an anxiety disorder, not otherwise specified, coronary artery disease, status post bypass surgery, elevated blood pressure and highly elevated cholesterol levels. (AR at 15). The ALJ also determined that, during the closed period, plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meet or equal the criteria contained in the Commissioner's Listing of Impairments, 20 C.F.R. Section 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Id.). The ALJ then found that, between January 3, 2001 and July 31, 2003, plaintiff retained the physical residual functional capacity to lift and carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, stand and walk four hours in an eight-hour workday and sit without significant limitation, but was limited to occasional postural activities and was precluded from climbing ropes, ladders and scaffolds. (Id.). With respect to plaintiff's mental residual functional capacity during the closed period, the ALJ found that plaintiff was limited to moderately complex four and five step tasks in a habitual work environment, he was precluded from performing work in which he would be responsible for the safety of others and was precluded from performing fast-paced work, meaning work at a pace above that expected in normal work. (Id.). The ALJ determined that plaintiff was unable to perform his past relevant work, which was in commercial air-conditioning and refrigerator sales. (AR at 19). The ALJ further found that plaintiff was closely approaching advanced age, had at least a high school diploma and had no skills transferable to light or sedentary work during the closed period (Id.). After considering plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, the ALJ concluded that jobs existed in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff could have performed between January 3, 2001 and July 31, 2003. (AR at 19-20). Accordingly, the ALJ concluded that plaintiff was not disabled between January 3, 2001 and July 31, 2003. (AR at 20-21). The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's timely request for review of the ALJ's decision. (See AR at 5, 8).

Thereafter, plaintiff appealed to the United States District Court.

PLAINTIFF'S CONTENTIONS

Plaintiff makes the following claims:

1. The ALJ failed to properly develop the record.

2. The ALJ misrepresented the record and failed to properly consider the consultative examining ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.