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Daniel R. Phillips v. Michael J. Astrue

November 4, 2011

DANIEL R. PHILLIPS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marc L. Goldman United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Daniel R. Phillips ("Plaintiff") seeks review of the Commissioner's final decision denying his application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") pursuant to Title II of the Social Security Act. For the reasons stated below, the Commissioner's decision is affirmed.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

Plaintiff was born on August 31, 1967. (Administrative Record ("AR") at 119). He completed three years of high school and obtained a General Education Development certificate. (AR at 18-19). Plaintiff has relevant work experience as a car salesman and as a mixer. (AR at 189, 756).

On April 11, 2008, Plaintiff filed an application for DIB, alleging that he has been disabled since July 30, 2007, due to ongoing pain. (AR at 119, 128). The Social Security Administration denied Plaintiff's application initially and on reconsideration. (AR at 56, 60).

An administrative hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Michael Radensky on January 12, 2009. (AR at 17-23). Plaintiff, who was represented by counsel, testified at the hearing. (AR at 19-22). A vocational expert also testified at the hearing. (AR at 31-35). On February 2, 2009, the ALJ issued a decision ("Decision #1) finding that Plaintiff was able to perform his past relevant work and, therefore, was not disabled. (AR at 43-55).

The Appeals Council affirmed the ALJ's decision on April 29, 2009. (AR at 1). Plaintiff commenced an action in this Court, CV 09-01055 MLG. Following a stipulated remand, the Appeals Council vacated the ALJ's decision and remanded the case to the ALJ to conduct further proceedings and to give further consideration to statements from Plaintiff's spouse. (AR at 766, 772).

A second hearing was held before the ALJ on June 11, 2010. (AR at 743-60). Plaintiff was represented by counsel and testified in his own behalf. (AR at 746-55). A vocational expert also testified at the hearing. (AR at 755-59).

On August 5, 2010, the ALJ issued a decision (Decision #2) denying benefits.*fn1 (AR at 733-42). The ALJ found that through his date last insured of June 30, 2008, Plaintiff: (1) had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since his alleged onset date of disability (step 1);

(2) suffered from severe impairments, including left shoulder impingement syndrome, degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, left knee impairment, obesity, and mood disorder (step 2); (3) did not have any impairments that met or equaled the criteria of a listed impairment (step 3); (4) had a residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform a range of light work;*fn2 (5) was unable to perform any past relevant work (step 4); but (6) could have performed jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy, including work as a bench assembler, small products assembler, and inspector hand packager (step 5). (AR at 734-41). Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was not under a disability at any time from his alleged onset date through his date last insured. (AR at 741).

On February 2, 2011, the Appeals Council denied review, and Decision #2 became the final decision of the Commissioner. (AR at 715-17).

Plaintiff commenced this action for judicial review on March 7, 2011. The parties filed a Joint Stipulation on October 11, 2011. Plaintiff raises the following claims of error:

1. The ALJ erred by failing to give controlling weight to Plaintiff's primary Worker's Compensation physician.

2. The ALJ provided insufficient reasons for rejecting Plaintiff's credibility.

3. The ALJ provided legally insufficient reasons for rejecting Plaintiff's ...


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