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Allen J. Bradley v. Michael J. Astrue

November 26, 2012

ALLEN J. BRADLEY,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles F. Eick United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION PROCEEDINGS

Plaintiff filed a Complaint on April 20, 2012, seeking review of the Commissioner's denial of benefits. The parties filed a consent to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge on May 22, 2012.

Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on October 10, 2012. Defendant filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on November 7, 2012. The Court has taken both motions under submission without oral argument. See L.R. 7-15; "Order," filed April 25, 2012.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, a former meat clerk, teacher's aide and prep cook, asserted disability based primarily on alleged neck and back problems (Administrative Record ("A.R.") 51-60, 113-17, 131-33). An Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") examined the medical record and heard testimony from Plaintiff and from a vocational expert (A.R. 25-174, 206-438).

The ALJ found Plaintiff had "the following severe impairments: stenosis of cervical spine with myelopathy and multilevel degenerative disc disease/spondylosis; status post anterior cervical discectomies and fusion; degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine; and status post gunshot wound with retained bullet fragment in the cervical vertebra (posterior neck)" (A.R. 27). The ALJ also found, however, that Plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity to perform a limited range of sedentary work (A.R. 28). In reliance on the testimony of a vocational expert, the ALJ determined that there existed significant numbers of jobs Plaintiff could perform (A.R. 32; see A.R. 67-75 (vocational expert's testimony)). The ALJ denied benefits, stating that Plaintiff "has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since January 5, 2009, the date the application was filed" (A.R. 32).

Plaintiff sought review from the Appeals Council, submitting a legal brief, some additional medical records, and some vocational evidence from "Job Browser Pro" and the "Specific Occupation Employment Unskilled Quarterly" (A.R. 175-205, 439-651). The Appeals Council considered these additional materials, but denied review (A.R. 1-4).

SUMMARY OF PLAINTIFF'S CONTENTIONS

Plaintiff contends:

1. The ALJ assertedly "fail[ed] to consider disability during a discrete closed period of time";

2. The ALJ assertedly "fail[ed] to give proper consideration to the opinions of the treating physicians taken together";

3. The ALJ assertedly "fail[ed] to give clear and convincing reasons for rejecting the testimony of the claimant"; and

4. The Administration assertedly erred by relying on the testimony of ...


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