The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheri Pym United States Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
On December 1, 2010, plaintiff Raphael O. Obiora filed a complaint against defendant Michael J. Astrue, seeking a review of a denial of Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB"). Both plaintiff and defendant have consented to proceed for all purposes before the assigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). The parties' briefing is now complete, and the court deems the matter suitable for adjudication without oral argument.
The sole issue presented for decision here is whether the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") properly evaluated plaintiff's credibility and subjective symptoms.
Joint Stipulation ("JS") at 3-10, 10-15, 15.
Having carefully studied, inter alia, the parties' written submissions and the Administrative Record ("AR"), the court concludes that, as detailed herein, the ALJ appropriately discounted plaintiff's credibility and his subjective complaints. Specifically, the ALJ properly rejected plaintiff's credibility based upon clear and convincing reasons. The court therefore affirms the Commissioner's decision denying benefits.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Plaintiff, who was fifty-two years old on the date of his October 23, 2009 administrative hearing, has a degree in nursing. See AR at 41, 43, 45. His only past relevant work is as a registered nurse. Id. at 63, 202.
On August 11, 2008, plaintiff protectively applied for DIB, alleging that he has been disabled since March 23, 2008 due to depression and stress. See AR at 71, 122, 201-02. Plaintiff's application was denied initially, after which he filed a request for a hearing. Id. at 70, 71-75, 76.
On October 23, 2009, plaintiff, proceeding pro se, appeared and testified at a hearing before the ALJ. AR at 41-54, 61-63, 67-69. The ALJ also heard testimony from Glenn A. E. Griffin, Ph.D., a medical expert ("ME"), and Elizabeth G. Ramos, a vocational expert ("VE"). Id. at 54-62, 63-66, 66-67, 67; see also id. at 111-18, 119-21. On November 19, 2009, the ALJ denied plaintiff's request for benefits. Id. at 21-32.
Applying the well-known five-step sequential evaluation process, the ALJ found, at step one, that plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since his alleged disability onset date. AR at 23.
At step two, the ALJ found that plaintiff suffers from a medically determinable impairment consisting of "a history of opioid dependence (Demerol), in questionable remission." AR at 24 (emphasis omitted). But the ALJ found that plaintiff does not suffer from a severe impairment or combination of impairments. Id. at 26. The ALJ therefore concluded that ...