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Daniel Morgan v. Michael J. Astrue

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


March 29, 2012

DANIEL MORGAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Josephine Staton Tucker United States District Judge

ORDER ACCEPTING IN PART FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636, the Court has reviewed the pleadings, the records on file, and the Amended Report and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge. Defendant has filed Objections, and the Court has engaged in a de novo review of those portions of the Amended Report and Recommendation to which Defendant has objected. The Court accepts the findings and recommendations of the Magistrate Judge, with the following exception: the Court concludes that the ALJ's first reason for discounting Plaintiff's credibility is clear and convincing and supported by substantial evidence.

The ALJ reasonably found that Plaintiff's credibility about his condition was undermined by the fact that the Administrative Record contained instances in which Plaintiff's subjective complaints were contradicted by his physicians' contemporaneous observations. While Plaintiff's behavior pre-dated the current onset-of-disability date, that does not mean that the Plaintiff's earlier behavior is irrelevant to the ALJ's credibility determination. It appears that the ALJ, as a trier-of-fact, reasonably found that Plaintiff previously exaggerated his subjective symptoms of fatigue and that that diminishes his credibility as to his current claim of pain and fatigue. This was not error.

Nonetheless, because this was only one of four reasons given by the ALJ for Plaintiff's diminished credibility, and because the Court accepts the findings and recommendations of the Magistrate Judge in all other respects, the Court cannot determine that the ALJ's credibility determination would remain the same if the ALJ were properly to consider the evidence relating to Plaintiff's credibility.

Therefore, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Judgment be entered REVERSING the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security and REMANDING this matter for further proceedings consistent with this Order and the accepted portions of the Amended Report and Recommendation.

20120329

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