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Janna R. Chaparro v. Michael J. Astrue

January 24, 2011

JANNA R. CHAPARRO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. ObertoUNITED States Magistrate Judge

ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S SOCIAL SECURITY COMPLAINT (Doc. 1)

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the "Commissioner" or "Defendant") denying her application for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") pursuant to Title XVI of the Social Security Act. 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3). The matter is currently before the Court on the parties' briefs, which were submitted, without oral argument, to the Honorable Sheila K. Oberto, United States Magistrate Judge.*fn1

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was born in 1973 and has a high-school education but no past relevant work. (Administrative Record ("AR") 19, 286, 312-13.) On July 27, 2005, Plaintiff filed an application for SSI, alleging disability beginning on September 1, 2004, due to back and leg pain, anxiety, and memory loss. (AR 84-92, 96.)

A. Medical Evidence

1. Dr. Hirokawa

On October 1, 2005, Greg Hirokawa, M.D., completed a consultative psychiatric evaluation of Plaintiff. (AR 216-20.) Dr. Hirokawa diagnosed Plaintiff with generalized anxiety disorder and depressive disorder not otherwise specified, and assigned a GAF score of 55.*fn2 (AR 219.) Dr. Hirokawa noted that Plaintiff's "symptoms and severity of depression are within the mild range. The likelihood of [Plaintiff's] mental condition improving within the next 12 months is fair." (AR 219.)

Dr. Hirokawa's functional assessment of Plaintiff was as follows: [Plaintiff] is capable of managing her funds based upon her ability to perform simple calculations. [Plaintiff's] ability to carry out very short and simple instructions is fair. [Plaintiff's] ability to understand and remember detailed instructions is fair. [Plaintiff's] ability to maintain attention and concentration is fair. [Plaintiff's] ability to accept instructions from supervisors is fair. [Plaintiff's] ability to sustain an ordinary routine without special supervision is fair. [Plaintiff's] ability to complete a normal workday and workweek without interruption at a consistent pace is fair. [Plaintiff's] ability to interact with co-workers is fair. [Plaintiff] will probably experience panic attacks and anxiety when under stress. This may be an emotional problem encountered at work. [Plaintiff's] ability to deal with various changes in a work setting is fair. The likelihood of [Plaintiff] emotionally deteriorating in a work environment is moderate. [Plaintiff] will benefit from counseling and a psychiatric medication evaluation for anxiety. (AR 219-20.)

2. Dr. Nowlan

On October 22, 2005, James Nowlan, Jr., M.D., an internist, performed a consultative examination of Plaintiff and diagnosed her with chronic pain syndrome. (AR 226.) Dr. Nowlan opined that Plaintiff (1) could lift 40 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, (2) could stand and walk for eight hours in an eight-hour workday, and (3) could sit for an unlimited amount of time. (AR 226.) Further, Plaintiff did not need any assistive devices and had no postural or manipulative limitations. (AR 226.) Finally, Dr. Nowlan opined that Plaintiff's limitations were psychiatric in nature. (AR 227.)

3. State Agency Physicians

On October 28, 2005, Archimedes Garcia, M.D., a state agency psychiatrist, completed a psychiatric review technique form in which Dr. Garcia opined that Plaintiff's anxiety-related disorder was not a severe impairment. Another state agency psychiatrist, Glenn Ikawa, M.D., affirmed Dr. Garcia's assessment on March 3, 2006. (AR 221.)

On November 9, 2005, Sadda Reddy, M.D., a state agency medical consultant, determined that Plaintiff's physical ...


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