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Loren C. Marquez, O/B/O A.N.M v. Michael J. Astrue

November 8, 2012

LOREN C. MARQUEZ, O/B/O A.N.M., PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VICTOR B. Kenton United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER (Social Security Case)

This matter is before the Court for review of the decision by the Commissioner of Social Security denying Plaintiff's application for disability benefits. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(c), the parties have consented that the case may be handled by the Magistrate Judge. The action arises under 42 U.S.C. §405(g), which authorizes the Court to enter judgment upon the pleadings and transcript of the record before the Commissioner. The parties have filed the Joint Stipulation ("JS"), and the Commissioner has filed the certified Administrative Record ("AR").

Plaintiff raises the following issues:

1. Whether the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") conducted a full and fair hearing;

2. Whether Plaintiff's disability ceased on March 1, 2004;

3. Whether any of Plaintiff's impairments or the combination of here impairments meet or medically or functionally equal the Listing;

4. Whether the ALJ properly relied on Dr. Meyer's, Dr. Townsend's and Dr. Taylor's reports and on Plaintiff's teacher's questionnaire;

5. Whether the ALJ improperly rejected Dr. Shuhaibars's and Dr. Heindelman's reports; and

6. Whether the ALJ properly assessed Plaintiff's mother's credibility.

(JS at p. 13.)

This Memorandum Opinion will constitute the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law. After reviewing the matter, the Court concludes that the decision of the Commissioner must be affirmed.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This case comes back to the Court following a Judgment remanding the case for new hearing consistent with a Memorandum Opinion issued by the Court on April 20, 2009. (See AR at 214, 215-226.)

Following the Judgment, a different ALJ conducted a new hearing on February 24, 2010 (AR 424-444), at which Plaintiff appeared, represented by counsel (the same counsel who represents her in this action), and testimony was taken from Dr. Kania, appearing as a Medical Expert ("ME"). The matter was adjourned and the hearing resumed on June 25, 2010, at which time Plaintiff appeared with the minor claimant A.N.M. (hereinafter "Claimant"), represented by the same counsel, and Dr. Kania again appeared and testified as an ME. (AR 445-491.)

The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on November 18, 2010. (AR 184-201.) This action followed.

The Claimant was born on September 4, 2001. On October 5, 2001, the Claimant, by and through her mother, filed an application for benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act ("Act"). (AR 88-91.) That claim was granted on October 30, 2001, retroactive to the date of birth, based on Claimant's extremely low birth weight, which functionally equaled the severity of the impairment listed at 20 C.F.R. § 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1, Section 100.02. In March 2004, benefits were terminated on the ground that Claimant's medical condition had improved. (AR 42, 44.) Claimant's mother appealed that decision, which was administratively denied, but, as noted above, after Claimant's mother filed an action in this Court. Judgment was entered on April 20, 2009 for Claimant, remanding the matter to the Commissioner for further proceedings.

ALJ Decision.

In the ALJ's lengthy Decision, he ultimately concluded that the Claimant was no longer disabled as of June 1, 2004. (AR at 184.) The ALJ concluded that since June 1, 2004, Claimant has had severe impairments of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ("ADHD"), and a learning disorder, pursuant to 20 C.F.R. ยง 416.924(c). (AR 194.) He also concluded that since the same date, Claimant has not had an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments ...


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