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Bolden v. Astrue

September 21, 2010

REGINALD R. BOLDEN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying plaintiff's applications under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381 et seq. (the "Act").*fn1 In his motion for summary judgment, plaintiff contends that the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") erred by: (1) failing to properly credit the opinions of certain physicians; (2) improperly rejecting plaintiff and his third party witness's statements; (3) failing to properly question the vocational expert and credit that expert's testimony; and (4) identifying jobs inconsistent with the dictionary of occupational titles.

(Dkt. No. 18 at 2.) The Commissioner filed an opposition to plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.*fn2 (Dkt. No. 22.)

After careful consideration of the entire record, the arguments presented, and for the reasons stated below, the court will grant plaintiff's request for remand.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural Background

On April 29, 2005, plaintiff filed an application for supplemental security income disability benefits alleging disability beginning on June 1, 2001. (Administrative Transcript "AT" 30, 81.) The Social Security Administration denied plaintiff's application initially and upon reconsideration. (AT 51-62.) Plaintiff filed a timely request for a hearing, and the ALJ conducted a hearing on December 18, 2007. (AT 208-40.) Plaintiff, who was represented by counsel, testified at the hearing. (Id.) Susan Moranda, an impartial vocational expert, also testified at the hearing. (AT 30.)

In a decision dated March 27, 2008, the ALJ denied plaintiff's application for benefits, finding he was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act.*fn3 (AT 27- 43.) Plaintiff filed an appeal with the Appeals Council for the Social Security Administration. The Appeals Council, by order dated January 21, 2009, granted review but rendered an unfavorable decision to plaintiff. (AT 5-10.) Plaintiff sought judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

B. Summary of Relevant Medical History and Evidence*fn4

In his application for disability benefits, plaintiff claimed that diabetes and high blood pressure limited his ability to work. (AT 75.) Plaintiff previously filed an application for SSI payments on March 24, 2003. (AT 30.) That application was dismissed by order of Administrative Law Judge Robert Ryan. (Id.) At the time of the hearing currently at issue, plaintiff was 33 years old. (AT 42.)

On February 1, 2006, Dr. Joseph M. Garfinkel, M.D., examined plaintiff following his application for benefits. During this internal medicine consultative examination, Dr. Garfinkel issued the following diagnostic impressions:

1. Diabetes mellitus type II, does not cause any disability.

2. Hypertension with very good ...


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