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DiGiovanni v. Astrue

June 22, 2010

DANIEL DIGIOVANNI, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Mcdermott United States Magistrate Judge

AMENDED MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING DECISION OF COMMISSIONER PROCEEDINGS

On May 15, 2009, Daniel DiGiovanni, Jr. ("Plaintiff" or "Claimant" or "DiGiovanni"), filed a complaint seeking review of the decision by the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying Plaintiff's application for Disability and Disability Insurance Benefits. The Commissioner filed an Answer on July 20, 2009. On November 23, 2009, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("JS").

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), both parties consented to proceed before the Magistrate Judge. The matter is now ready for decision. After reviewing the pleadings, transcripts, and administrative record ("AR"), the Court concludes that the Commissioner's decision should be affirmed.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a 42 year old male who has the medically determinable severe impairment of degenerative disc disease, for which he underwent two surgeries in August 2006. (AR 11.) He has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date of May 17, 2006. (AR 11.)

Plaintiff's claims initially were denied by the Commissioner on May 18, 2007. (AR 9.) Plaintiff filed a timely request for a hearing, which was held on June 9, 2008, in Pasadena, California before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Richard A. Urbin. (AR 9-16.) Claimant appeared and testified and was represented by counsel. (AR 9, 37-64.) Vocational expert Howard Goldfarb also appeared and testified. (AR 9, 65-70.)

The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on August 29, 2008. (AR 9-15.) The ALJ concluded that, notwithstanding Plaintiff's medical impairments, he had the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform the full range of light work (AR 12), including his prior work in the automobile field. (AR 15.) The ALJ therefore concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. (AR 15.) Central to the ALJ's ruling was an adverse determination of Plaintiff's credibility, which Plaintiff never addresses or contests.

DISPUTED ISSUES

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, the disputed issues that Plaintiff is raising as grounds for reversal and remand are as follows:

1. Whether the ALJ properly considered the consultative examiner's opinion.

2. Whether the ALJ properly developed the record.

3. Whether the ALJ properly considered the type, dosage and side effects of Plaintiff's prescribed medications.

4. Whether the ALJ posed a complete hypothetical question to the ...


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