Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Cockren v. Astrue

July 13, 2010

ELZO COCKREN, SR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S SOCIAL SECURITY COMPLAINT

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Elzo Cockren, Sr., ("Plaintiff") seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying his application for supplemental security income pursuant to Title XVI of the Social Security Act. The matter is currently before the Court on the parties' briefs, which were submitted, without oral argument, to the Honorable Dennis L. Beck, United States Magistrate Judge.

FACTS AND PRIOR PROCEEDINGS*fn1

Plaintiff filed his application on January 18, 2006, alleging disability since January 14, 2003, due to illiteracy, high blood pressure and back pain. AR 18, 154-156. After Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on reconsideration, he requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). AR 99-103, 108-112, 11. On January 24, 2008, ALJ Michael J. Haubner held a hearing. AR 32-76. He denied benefits on April 25, 2008. AR 15-27. The Appeals Council denied review on September 22, 2008. AR 8-12.

Hearing Testimony ALJ Haubner held a hearing in Fresno, California, on January 24, 2008. Plaintiff appeared with his attorney, Geoffrey Hayden. Vocational expert ("VE") Jose Chaparro also appeared and testified. AR 32.

Plaintiff testified that he was born in 1959 and completed the twelfth grade in special education/vocational classes. He last worked in 2003, though only for six months. AR 38-39, 73. In 2000, he worked stacking potatoes for two months. AR 39-40. Plaintiff last used drugs about three years ago and last drank alcohol about 20 years ago. AR 40-42. He testified that he has been convicted of possession of a controlled substance and "failure to register." AR 42-43.

Plaintiff rents a room at a hotel and does not make the bed, though he changes his sheets every week. AR 43. He does laundry once a week at the laundromat. He is able to take care of his personal needs and prepare simple meals twice a day. AR 44. He washes dishes every other day and vacuums his room once a week. AR 45. Plaintiff goes shopping once a month. AR 46. He goes to church every Sunday. AR 47.

Plaintiff estimated that in an average day, he watches television for about 12 hours. He has no other hobbies and doesn't like to talk to people. AR 48. When he sees people at church or shopping, he often argues with them. Plaintiff tries to avoid people. AR 52-53. He talks on the phone about once a day and a friend visits him about once a week. AR 49. Plaintiff testified that he does not know how to read and write. AR 50.

Plaintiff thought that he could walk for about a block and could stand for five minutes. He thought that he could sit for about five minutes. AR 51. Plaintiff estimated that he could lift five pounds without hurting himself. He explained that he has to lay down for about seven hours during the day. AR 52. Plaintiff thought that he could concentrate for about 10 minutes. AR 53.

For the first hypothetical, the ALJ asked the VE to assume a person of Plaintiff's age, education and experience. This person could stand and/or walk eight hours out of an eight hour day and sit for eight hours. This person could lift and carry 100 pounds occasionally and 50 pounds frequently. This person could occasionally bend and stoop and had to avoid food handling or preparation. The VE testified that this person could not perform Plaintiff's past work but could perform the positions of bellhop, farm machine tender and house cleaner. AR 59.

For the second hypothetical, the ALJ asked the VE to assume that this person could lift and carry 50 pounds occasionally, 25 pounds frequently, and could occasionally bend, crouch and crawl. This person would be precluded from performing forceful pushing or pulling with the left arm. The VE testified that this person could perform Plaintiff's past relevant work as well as the positions of battery stacker, cook helper and dining room attendant. AR 60-61, 68.

For the third hypothetical, the ALJ asked the VE to assume that this person could lift and carry 50 pounds occasionally, 25 pounds frequently, and could occasionally climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl. This person could not perform Plaintiff's past work but could perform the positions of bellhop, farm machine tender and house cleaner. AR 61.

For the fourth hypothetical, the ALJ asked the VE to assume that this person could lift and carry 50 pounds occasionally, 25 pounds frequently. This person could perform Plaintiff's past work and could perform the world of unskilled medium, light and sedentary work. AR 61-62.

For the fifth hypothetical, the ALJ asked the VE to assume a person who could not perform simple repetitive tasks consistently or follow simple instructions as would be expected in a job-like setting. This person could not perform any work. AR 62.

For the sixth hypothetical, the ALJ asked the VE to assume that this person would be moderately limited in his ability to understand, remember and carry out detailed instructions, maintain attention and concentration for extended periods, perform within a schedule, maintain regular attendance, sustain an ordinary routine without sufficient supervision, work in coordination or proximity to others, or complete a normal workday or workweek. This person could not perform any work. AR 63.

For the seventh hypothetical, the ALJ asked the VE to assume that this person has a limited intellectual capacity that may present moderate difficulties in a work setting involving complex decision making or detailed tasks. AR 63. The VE testified that this person could perform Plaintiff's past work, as well as unskilled work at all exertional levels. AR 63-64.

For the eighth hypothetical, the ALJ asked the VE to assume that this person is moderately limited in his ability to understand, remember and carry out detailed instructions, interact with the public, accept instructions and respond appropriately to criticism. This person could not do any work. AR 65.

For the ninth hypothetical, the ALJ asked the VE to assume that this person has a fair ability to remember locations and work-like procedures, a fair ability to understand and remember simple and detailed instructions, a fair ability to maintain attention and concentration, a fair ability to accept instructions, perform activities within a schedule, and maintain an ordinary work routine, a fair ability to complete a normal workday, a fair ability to perform at a consistent pace, a fair ability to interact appropriately with co-workers and a fair ability to deal with various changes. The VE testified that the definition of "fair" was too uncertain to allow him to answer the hypothetical. AR 65-66.

For the tenth hypothetical, the ALJ asked the VE to assume that this person could stand and/or walk eight hours out of an eight hour day and sit for eight hours. This person could lift and carry 100 pounds occasionally and 50 pounds frequently, and could occasionally bend and stoop. This person had to avoid food handling or preparation and could not perform complex tasks. AR 66. This person could not perform Plaintiff's past work, but could perform the positions of bellhop, farm machine tender and house cleaner. AR 67.

For the final hypothetical, the ALJ asked the VE to assume the limitations as Plaintiff described them during his testimony. The VE indicated that this person could not perform any work. AR 67.

Medical Record*fn2

On June 4, 2002, Plaintiff underwent mental health screening upon entering the California Department of Corrections. The screening was negative for significant symptoms of a serious mental disorder and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.