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La Chapelle v. Astrue

June 30, 2009

DORIS LA CHAPELLE, 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 October 2, 2008, Doris La Chapelle ("plaintiff") filed a Complaint seeking review of the Social Security Administration's denial of her application for Disability Insurance Benefits. On October 28, 2008, plaintiff filed a Consent to Proceed Before United States Magistrate Judge Jennifer T. Lum. On November 20, 2008, Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security ("defendant"), filed a Consent to Proceed Before United States Magistrate Judge Jennifer T. Lum. Thereafter, on April 15, 2009, defendant filed an Answer to the Complaint. On May 18, 2009, the parties filed their Joint Stipulation.

The matter is now ready for decision.

BACKGROUND

On November 8, 2004, plaintiff filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits alleging a disability onset date of July 8, 2004. (Administrative Record ["AR"] at 64-66). The Commissioner denied plaintiff's application for benefits both initially and upon reconsideration. (AR at 28-29). Thereafter, plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). (AR at 48).

On March 20, 2007, the ALJ conducted a hearing in San Bernardino, California. (See AR at 436-51). Plaintiff appeared at the hearing with counsel and testified. (AR at 439-51). On August 21, 2007, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits to plaintiff. (AR at 15-22). The ALJ determined that plaintiff had one severe impairment, a musculoskeletal impairment from right breast cancer. (AR at 17). The ALJ found that plaintiff's condition did not meet or equal an impairment contained in the Listing of Impairments (see 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1). (AR at 19). The ALJ determined that plaintiff had the residual functional capacity to perform the full range of medium work, including her past relevant work as a customer service representative for a telephone company. (AR at 19-22). Accordingly, the ALJ concluded that plaintiff was not disabled from July 8, 2004, plaintiff's alleged disability onset date, through August 21, 2007, the date of the decision. (AR at 22). The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's timely request for review of the ALJ's decision. (AR at 5-7).

Thereafter, plaintiff appealed to the United States District Court.

PLAINTIFF'S CONTENTIONS

Plaintiff makes the following claims:

1. The ALJ failed to properly consider the assessment of plaintiff's mental functional capacity by Timothy J. Hoang, Psy.D., plaintiff's treating psychologist.

2. The ALJ failed to obtain all of Dr. Hoang's treatment notes and, thus, failed to meet his duty to develop the record.

3. The ALJ failed to properly consider the opinion of Gana Maria Mody, M.D., plaintiff's treating psychiatrist.

4. The ALJ failed to properly consider the type, dosage, effectiveness, and side-effects of ...


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