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Seline Gutierres v. Michael J. Astrue

November 15, 2012

SELINE GUTIERRES, 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") properly considered Plaintiff's treating physicians' opinions;

2. Whether the ALJ properly determined if activities of daily living establish the ability to perform full-time competitive substantial gainful activity;

3. Whether there is a DOT inconsistency in the ALJ's holding that Plaintiff can perform the jobs of information clerk, credit checker, and electronic bench technician; and

4. Whether the ALJ properly considered the lay witness testimony. (JS at 3.)

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

A. Procedural History.

Plaintiff previously filed an application for SSI benefits on August 11, 2005, which resulted in a determination of non-disability by an ALJ in a Decision dated February 15, 2008. (See AR, Exhibit ["Ex."] B1A.) That Decision creates a rebuttable presumption of continuing non-disability. (See SSR 97-4(9), Chavez v. Bowen, 844 F.2d 691 (9th Cir. 1988).)

Plaintiff's current application for SSI benefits was filed on May 26, 2009. (AR 9; 102.) After administrative denials, hearings were held before an ALJ on December 10, 2010 and April 8, 2011. An unfavorable decision was issued on April 27, 2011. (AR 5-24.) The Appeals Council denied review (AR 1-4) and Plaintiff commenced this litigation.

I

THE ALJ PROPERLY CONSIDERED THE MEDICAL EVIDENCE IN DETERMINING PLAINTIFF'S RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY In the Decision, the ALJ found that Plaintiff has severe impairments of lupus; failed back syndrome, status ...


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