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McCloud v. Astrue

August 3, 2009

FRANKLIN MCCLOUD, 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 Franklin McCloud filed a complaint on August 18, 2008, seeking review of the Commissioner's decision denying his application for disability benefits. On January 15, 2009, the Commissioner answered the complaint, and the parties filed a joint stipulation on February 2, 2009.

BACKGROUND

I.

On June 23, 2006, plaintiff applied for disability benefits under the Supplemental Security Income program ("SSI") of Title XVI of the Social Security Act ("Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 1382(a), claiming an inability to work since June 16, 2006, due to arthritis, anxiety, shoulder pain, and seizures. Certified Administrative Record ("A.R.") 63-69, 81. The plaintiff's application was initially denied on December 5, 2006, and was denied again on January 22, 2007, following reconsideration. A.R. 29-32, 36-41. The plaintiff then requested an administrative hearing, which was held before Administrative Law Judge Joseph D. Schloss ("the ALJ") on January 14, 2008. A.R. 16-26, 33. On May 19, 2008, the ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff is not disabled. A.R. 5-15. The plaintiff appealed this decision to the Appeals Council, which denied review on June 27, 2008. A.R. 1-4.

II.

The plaintiff, who was born on October 30, 1951, is currently 57 years old. A.R. 63. He has a B.A. in political science from Southern Methodist University, and has previously worked as a cab driver, food server, day laborer, maintenance worker and custodian. A.R. 82, 86, 88-95, 254.

On September 14, 2006, Nicholas N. Lin, M.D., an internist, examined plaintiff and diagnosed him with seizure disorder, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and anxiety and depression, by history.*fn1

A.R. 241-46. Dr. Lin opined:

[plaintiff] can lift or carry 50 pounds occasionally and 25 pounds frequently. He can stand or walk for 6 hours in an 8-hour workday and sit for 6 hours in an 8-hour workday. He can bend, stoop, crouch, kneel, and climb stairs frequently. There are no manipulative, communicative, or environmental limitations. His visual limitation is as per the visual acuity test by Snellen chart. He is to avoid hazardous measures such as driving, operating machines, handling fires, working at unprotected heights, or swimming given the history of seizure disorder.

A.R. 245-46.

On October 31, 2006, psychiatrist Romualdo R. Rodriguez, M.D., examined plaintiff and diagnosed him as having marijuana abuse/ dependence, rule out polysubstance dependence, and a dysthymic disorder, and determined plaintiff's Global Assessment of Functioning ("GAF") was 60.*fn2 A.R. 252-59. Dr. Rodriguez opined plaintiff: is able to understand, remember, and carry out simple one or two-step job instructions and detailed and complex instructions; and is "slightly limited" in his ability to: relate and interact with supervisors, co-workers, and the public, maintain concentration, attention, persistence and pace, associate with day-to-day work activity, including attendance and safety, adapt to the stresses common to a normal work environment, maintain regular attendance in the work place and perform work activities on a consistent basis, and perform work activities without special or additional supervision. A.R. 258.

DISCUSSION

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