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Jesse O'con, Jr v. Michael J. Astrue

March 25, 2011

JESSE O'CON, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



ORDER

Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying his application for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the Social Security Act. For the reasons discussed below, the court grants defendant's motion and denies plaintiff's motion.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, born July 26, 1976, formally applied for DIB on August 23, 2007.

Administrative Record ("AR") 123. His application alleged that he had been disabled since March 28, 2007. Id. at 8.The application was denied initially and upon reconsideration, and plaintiff requested an administrative hearing. Id. On January 14, 2009, a hearing was held before administrative law judge ("ALJ") Sandra K. Rogers. Id. Plaintiff was represented by counsel at the hearing, and testified at the hearing, along with vocational expert Stephen B. Schmidt. Id.

The ALJ issued a decision on June 12, 2009, finding that plaintiff was not disabled.*fn1 Id. at 8-18. The ALJ made the following specific findings: ...the prior unfavorable decision of the undersigned dated March 27, 2007, and upheld by the Appeals Council on May 18, 2007, raises issues about the presumptions affecting the adjudication of the present case. In Chavez v. Bowen, 844 F.2d 691, 693 (9th Cir. 1988), the court reaffirmed the rule of Taylor v. Heckler, 756 F.2d 872 (9th Cir. 1985), that a decision by an Administrative Law Judge that a claimant is not disabled, which decision becomes final, creates a presumption of non-disability that the claimant must overcome in subsequent claims by proof of changed circumstances showing a greater degree of disability.... ...The undersigned Administrative Law Judge has considered the medical and vocational evidence to determine whether there are such "changed circumstances," commencing March 27, 2007. For the reasons expressed below, I find, after reviewing the recent evidence, that there are no substantial changes in the claimant's conditions since my previous decision dated April 14, 2003 (Exhibit B3F). Since there are no "changed circumstances," the so-called Chavez presumptions do apply.

The undersigned adopts the March 27, 2007 decision, including all the exhibits in connection with the prior hearing (Exhibit B1A).

1. The claimant has met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on June 30, 2007, but not thereafter.

2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from his alleged onset date of March 28, 2007 through his date last insured of June 30, 2007 (20 CFR 404.1571 etseq.).

3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the following severe impairment: major depressive disorder (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).

4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1525 and 404.1526).

5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that, through the date last insured, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform a wide range of simple repetitive tasks.

6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was capable of performing past relevant work as a laborer in stores. This work did not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565).

7. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from March 28, 2007, the alleged onset date, through June 30, 2007, the date last insured (20 CFR 404.1520(f)). Id. at 8-15.

Plaintiff requested that the Appeals Council review the ALJ's decision. However, on October 16, 2009, the Appeals Council denied review, leaving the ALJ's decision as the final decision of ...


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