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Melissa Loomis v. Michael J. Astrue

June 20, 2011

MELISSA LOOMIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VICTOR B. Kenton United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

(Social Security Case)

This matter is before the Court for review of the decision by the Commissioner of Social Security denying Plaintiff's application for disability benefits. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(c), the parties have consented that the case may be handled by the Magistrate Judge. The action arises under 42 U.S.C. §405(g), which authorizes the Court to enter judgment upon the pleadings and transcript of the record before the Commissioner. The parties have filed the Joint Stipulation ("JS"), and the Commissioner has filed the certified Administrative Record ("AR").

Plaintiff raises the following issues:

1. Whether the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") properly considered the treating psychiatrist's opinion;

2. Whether the ALJ provided a complete assessment of Plaintiff's residual functional capacity; and

3. Whether the ALJ posed a complete hypothetical question to the vocational expert.

(JS at 2.)

This Memorandum Opinion will constitute the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law. After reviewing the matter, the Court concludes that the decision of the Commissioner must be affirmed.

I

THE ALJ CORRECTLY ASSESSED PLAINTIFF'S MENTAL RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY

Plaintiff raises three issues in this litigation, each of which relates to the asserted error committed by the ALJ in failing to properly assess the opinion of her treating psychiatrist, Dr. Leonard. This question is posed as Issue No. 1. Related to that is Plaintiff's assertion that the ALJ failed to provide a complete assessment of her mental residual functional capacity (Issue Two), and the third issue is that in failing to properly consider Dr. Leonard's diagnosis, the ALJ posed an incomplete hypothetical question to the vocational expert ("VE").

The Court will address each of these issues in ...


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