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Washington v. Astrue

September 30, 2009

ERNEST C. WASHINGTON, 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. On August 11, 2009, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, Memorandum of Points and Authorities and Statement of Uncontroverted Facts and Conclusions of Law in support of the Motion for Summary Judgment ("MSJ"). The Commissioner's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment were filed on September 1, 2009 ("Opposition"). Plaintiff has not filed a Reply. The Commissioner has filed the certified Administrative Record ("AR"). The matter is now ready for adjudication.

In his Statement of Genuine Issues to Motion for Summary Judgment, Plaintiff asserts that he has the following severe impairments:*fn1

1. Diabetes mellitus Type I (uncontrolled);

2. Diabetic neurothopy [sic];

3. Peripheral artery disease;

4. Discoid lupus;

5. Meningitis;

6. Depression; and

7. Insomnia.

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 DID NOT ERR IN FINDING THAT PLAINTIFF DID NOT HAVE A SEVERE IMPAIRMENT

In a comprehensive 14-page decision, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff has medically determinable impairments of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus with sometimes poor control; hypertension; hypercholesterolemia; bilateral renal cysts; and adjust order, depressed. (AR 14.) The ALJ found, however, that Plaintiff does not have any severe impairments. (AR 15.)

This decision reflects the ALJ's thorough consideration of the evidence and resolution of any conflicts in the medical testimony. See Magallanes v. Bowen, 881 F.2d 747, 750 (9th Cir. 1989). Indeed, each of the impairments identified by the ALJ at Step Two of the sequential evaluation process, but found to be not severe, is discussed exhaustively in the decision, with references to the medical evidence. Indeed, Plaintiff had claimed additional impairments at the administrative level, which are also discussed by the ALJ. Thus, he claimed a back impairment; however, as the ALJ noted, consultative clinical examinations ("CE"), including examinations of Plaintiff's back, had been unremarkable. (See AR at 14, citing exhibits.) No neurological deficit had been noted during these examinations. (Id.) Next, the ALJ noted that Plaintiff had alleged symptoms in his lower extremities, such as pain, swelling, and numbness, but the ALJ noted that a bilateral arterial duplex ...


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