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Marina Keblansky v. Commissioner of Social Security

January 18, 2012

MARINA KEBLANSKY,
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. 19) and defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment (Doc. 22).

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff applied for social security benefits on June 23, 2005. In the application, plaintiff claims that disability began on December 1, 2003. Plaintiff claims that disability is caused by a combination of carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, and headaches. Plaintiff's claim was initially denied. Following denial of reconsideration, plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, which was held on June 2, 2008, before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Charles S. Evans. In a July 10, 2008, decision, the ALJ concluded that plaintiff is not disabled based on the following relevant findings:

1. The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease and carpal tunnel syndrome.

2. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals an impairment listed in the regulations.

3. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work except claimant is able to walk on a level surface for 2 blocks at a time, stand for 1 hour at a time, and sit for 1 to 1 1/2 hours at a time; claimant's fine manipulation is moderately impaired; claimant is able to push/pull 20 pounds for 5 minutes at a time; claimant is able to drive and climb 6 stairs; claimant's short-term memory is mildly impaired; claimant's medication moderates her body, hand, and headache pain to mild; claimant has disturbed sleep: she has 80% of the normal amount of energy for a person her age; claimant has 90% of the normal amount of alertness; claimant is able to lift 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently.

4. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.

5. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, and based on application of the Medical-Vocational Guidelines, the claimant is not disabled.

After the Appeals Council declined review on February 18, 2010, this appeal followed.

II. SUMMARY OF THE EVIDENCE

The certified administrative record ("CAR") contains the following relevant evidence, summarized chronologically below:

August 16, 2005 -- Records from Englewood Community Hospital reflect that plaintiff was seen in the emergency room for a laceration to her face sustained in a fall. The cut was sutured and plaintiff was sent home.

August 23, 2005 -- An agency consultative doctor submitted a physical residual functional capacity assessment. The doctor opined that plaintiff could occasionally lift/carry 20 pounds and frequently lift/carry 10 pounds. Plaintiff could stand/walk/sit for about 6 hours in a normal workday. Plaintiff's push/pull ability was unlimited. The doctor found no postural, visual, communicative, or environmental limitations. Plaintiff was limited in her ability to handle, finger, and feel, though no limitations were indicated with respect to reaching. The doctor noted that plaintiff was independent in her activities of daily living and that the evidence of record showed only some mild decreased range of motion and sensation bilaterally in the wrists due to carpal tunnel syndrome.

September 2, 2005 -- Craig T. Reihelf, M.D., reported on x-rays of plaintiff's wrists. No specific ...


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