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Dedra Ross v. Commissioner of Social Security

March 21, 2011

DEDRA ROSS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Craig M. Kellison United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, who is proceeding with retained counsel, brings this action for judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Pursuant to the written consent of all parties, this case is before the undersigned as the presiding judge for all purposes, including entry of final judgment. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Pending before the court are plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 24) and defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment (Doc. 26). For the reasons discussed below, the court will deny plaintiff's motion for summary judgment or remand and grant the Commissioner's cross-motion for summary judgment.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY*fn1

Plaintiff applied for social security benefits protectively on February 27, 2007 alleging an onset of disability on February 7, 2004, due to physical and mental impairments. (Certified administrative record ("CAR") 63, 67, 86-92, 97-108). Specifically, plaintiff claims disability based on impairments due to Schizoaffective disorders and right ankle injury. (CAR 102). Plaintiff's claim was denied initially and upon reconsideration. Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, which was held on December 16, 2008, before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") L. Kalei Fong. In a March 23, 2009 decision, the ALJ concluded that plaintiff is not disabled*fn2 based on the following findings:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 27, 2007, the application date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq.).

2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: low back pain, right ankle pain status post fracture, a bipolar disorder with psychotic features, a depressive disorder and a substance abuse disorder in remission (20 CFR 416.921 et seq.).

3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.925 and 416.926).

4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b). Specifically, the claimant is limited as follows: claimant is limited to standing, walking and sitting for six hours per day; lift and carry 20 pounds occasionally, 10 pounds frequently; precluded from climbing ladders, ropes or scaffolds; all other postural activities are limited to occasional. As a result of her mental impairments, the claimant is unable to perform skilled and semi-skilled work but remains capable of performing unskilled work. She is also limited to jobs which do not require contact with the public.

5. The claimant has no past relevant work experience (20 CFR 416.965).

6. The claimant was born on August 19, 1971 and was 35 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.963).

7. The claimant has a limited education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).

8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue in this case because the claimant's past relevant work is unskilled (20 CFR 416.968).

9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the ...


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