The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER AFFIRMING AGENCY'S DENIAL OF BENEFITS AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF
Plaintiff Adelaido Jacinto, by his attorneys, Law Offices of Lawrence D. Rohlfing, seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying his application for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 301 et seq.) (the "Act"). The matter is currently before the Court on the parties' cross-briefs, which were submitted, without oral argument, to the Honorable Sandra M. Snyder, United States Magistrate Judge. Following a review of the complete record and applicable law, this Court affirms the Commissioner's decision.
On January 25, 2006, Plaintiff applied for disability benefits pursuant to Title II of the Social Security Act, alleging disability beginning September 21, 2005. His claims were initially denied on June 29, 2006, and upon reconsideration, on January 25, 2007. On February 28, 2007, Plaintiff filed a timely request for a hearing. Plaintiff appeared and testified at a hearing on May 13, 2008. On July 24, 2008, Administrative Law Judge Michael J. Haubner denied Plaintiff's application. The Appeals Council denied review on May 24, 2010. On August 10, 2010, Plaintiff filed a complaint seeking this Court's review.
In September and October 2005, Plaintiff (born December 16, 1960), previously employed as a tractor driver, underwent cardiac catheterization and valve replacement. Following his surgery, Plaintiff's prescription medications included, among others, Coumadin, a blood thinner intended to minimize the risk of a future stroke.
On May 4, 2006, as an agency consultant, internist Mohinder Poonia, M.D., examined
Plaintiff. Poonia concluded his report:
This 45-year-old Hispanic male patient is a known case of aortic valve replacement. He has been on anticoagulent therapy with Coumadin. The patient is being monitored closely. The patient expresses his inability to work because he has hurting in the chest and weakness and tiredness. However, the echocardiac examination revealed well-preserved left ventricular function without any evidence of L-V dysfunction. His symptoms of aching in the chest appears to be musculoskeletal in origin and not cardiac in origin. So the patient should be able to perform all the jobs requiring mild to moderate degree of physical exertion, however, strenuous exertion should be avoided. In view of the patient being on anticoagulent therapy, he should be careful working where there are sharp objects to avoid excessive loss of blood due to being on anticoagulant therapy.
Thomas Dachelet testified as vocational expert. For all hypothetical questions, the ALJ directed Dachelet to assume an individual of the same age, education, language, and experience background as Plaintiff. For the first hypothetical question, the ALJ directed Dachelet to assume an individual able to perform all jobs requiring a mild to moderate degree of physical exertion, however, strenuous exertion should be avoided. The ALJ added, "This person should be careful when working around sharp objects to avoid excessive loss of blood." AR 54. The ALJ first asked Dachelet whether Plaintiff could perform his prior relevant work as a farm machine operator or day laborer. Protesting that the description was "pretty nebulous," Dachelet opined that the hypothetical person could not perform either job due to the likelihood of a physical injury that would break the skin, such as a "busted knuckle." AR 54-55.
For the second hypothetical question, the ALJ directed Dachelet to assume an individual who could lift and carry 50 pounds occasionally, 10 to 25 pounds frequently; could stand, sit, and walk about six hours out of eight; had unlimited ability to push and pull; could frequently climb ramps and stairs, but should never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffold; should avoid concentrated exposure to hazards; should avoid overhead reaching with the left non-dominant extremity. Dachelet opined that the individual could not perform Plaintiff's past work. Such an individual could perform unskilled medium work such as packager (No. 964; 16,014 positions in California); line service attendant (55,231 positions in California); or extractor (machine) operator (No. 896; 16, 122 positions in California).
For the third hypothetical question, the ALJ directed Dachelet to assume an individual who could lift and carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently; sit, stand, or walk six hours out of eight; had limited ability to push and pull in the lower extremities; could occasionally climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl; and should avoid concentrated exposure to hazards. Dachelet confirmed the ALJ's assumption that such an individual could not perform Plaintiff's prior work, but opined that such a person could perform the full range of light and sedentary unskilled work. ...