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Wooley v. Astrue

July 17, 2009

JERMAINE WOOLEY, 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") made proper credibility findings;

2. Whether the ALJ properly developed the record; and

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

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 ALJ MADE PROPER CREDIBILITY FINDINGS

In the decision, the ALJ depreciated Plaintiff's credibility with regard to subjective pain complaints. The ALJ found these symptoms to be not entirely credible and not supported by the objective medical evidence. (AR 60.) Plaintiff asserts that the ALJ went no further, and in that manner, failed to make the requisite specific findings to support his conclusion. (See JS at 4, citing Bunnell v. Sullivan, 947 F.2d 341, 345 (9th Cir. 1991).

The ALJ specifically cited various evidentiary factors utilized to evaluate credibility. (AR at 60, citing the factors set forth in 20 C.F.R. §416.929 (2008).) Indeed, the ALJ cited at least four specific factors; to wit:

1. That Plaintiff had engaged in symptom exaggeration during medical examinations for what appeared to be a minor injury;

2. That the objective medical evidence in the form of radiological studies was essentially normal;

3. That Plaintiff takes no narcotic pain medication and uses only mild analgesics;

4. That Plaintiff went through training to be an armed security officer and finished ...


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