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Lewis v. Astrue

July 8, 2009

JEAN A. LEWIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VICTOR B. Kenton United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

(Social Security Case)

This matter is before the Court for review of the decision by the Commissioner of Social Security denying Plaintiff's application for disability benefits. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(c), the parties have consented that the case may be handled by the Magistrate Judge. The action arises under 42 U.S.C. §405(g), which authorizes the Court to enter judgment upon the pleadings and transcript of the record before the Commissioner. The parties have filed the Joint Stipulation ("JS"), and the Commissioner has filed the certified Administrative Record ("AR").

Plaintiff raises the following issues:

1. Whether the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") properly considered the lay witness testimony;

2. Whether the ALJ properly considered the type, dosage, effectiveness and side effects of Plaintiff's medications;

3. Whether the ALJ properly considered the treating psychiatrist's opinion;

4. Whether the ALJ properly considered the opinions by Plaintiff's treating clinicians; and

5. Whether the ALJ posed a complete hypothetical question to the vocational expert.

(JS at 3.)

This Memorandum Opinion will constitute the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law. After reviewing the matter, the Court concludes that the decision of the Commissioner must be affirmed.

I. THE LAY WITNESS TESTIMONY WAS NOT IMPROPERLY REJECTED BY THE ALJ

In her first issue, Plaintiff contends that her son,*fn1 Micah Lewis, completed a third party questionnaire which described limitations in Plaintiff's activities of daily living ("ADL's"), and that the ALJ improperly rejected this information.

The third party statement of Micah Lewis was contained in a "Function Report - Adult - Third Party." (AR 144-151.) In that report, Micah Lewis claimed that Plaintiff "must remain on the toilet for hours." (AR 145.) Further, he reported his observations that Plaintiff "can't complete tasks because she must use the toilet on ...


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