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Spoon-Arendt v. Astrue

June 9, 2009

SHARON F. SPOON-ARENDT, 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 Sharon F. Spoon-Arendt filed a complaint on December 14, 2007, seeking review of the decision denying her application for disability benefits. On July 7, 2008, the Commissioner answered the complaint, and the parties filed a joint stipulation on August 15, 2008.

BACKGROUND

I.

On March 3, 2005, plaintiff applied for disability benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act ("Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 423, claiming an inability to work since September 15, 1999, due to back, leg and foot pain. Certified Administrative Record ("A.R.") 65-67, 68. The plaintiff's application was initially denied on April 22, 2005, and was denied again on July 19, 2005, following reconsideration. A.R. 48-59. The plaintiff then requested an administrative hearing, which was held before Administrative Law Judge Joseph D. Schloss ("the ALJ") on August 6, 2007. A.R. 46, 313-25. On August 18, 2007, the ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff is not disabled. A.R. 7-15. The plaintiff appealed this decision to the Appeals Council, which denied review on October 24, 2007. A.R. 3-6.

II.

The plaintiff, who was born on August 29, 1944, is currently 64 years old. A.R. 65. She has previously worked as a salesperson.

A.R. 77, 321.

On November 13, 2000, William B. Aun, M.D., examined plaintiff, diagnosed her with lumbar radiculopathy,*fn1 and gave her a lumbar epidural steroid injection. A.R. 101-03. Dr. Aun noted:

[plaintiff] has had low back pain and radiating [right leg] pain all the way down to her [right] foot for about 3 months. MRI shows L4-5 disc herniation to the right. Also shown is annulus bulging [at] L3-4 and L4-5.

A.R. 103. Subsequently, on November 21 and December 6, 2000, Dr. Aun gave plaintiff additional lumbar epidural steroid injections. A.R. 98-100.

On January 24, 2001, N. Johnson, M.D., examined plaintiff and noted she had experienced back and right leg pain since August 2000. A.R. 94-95. Dr. Johnson reviewed a lumbar spine MRI taken September 2000, which showed:

a small bulge of disk material at L4-5 on the right side, consistent with [plaintiff's] pain. The central canal is narrowed. The nerve root has egressed the canal above this and is not involved with it. This bulge is directly at the disk space.

A.R. 94. A lumbar myelogram taken January 24, 2001, showed a ruptured disc on the right side at L4-5, where plaintiff had pain. A.R. 86. Dr. Johnson also noted stenosis at multiple levels, particularly L5-S1. A.R. 87. On February 8, 2001, Dr. Johnson performed an intralaminar dissection discectomy and interbody fusion at L4-5 on ...


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