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Diana L. Dauenhauer v. Michael J. Astrue

January 7, 2013

DIANA L. DAUENHAUER, 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") erred in rejecting the opinions of treating rehabilitation specialist Goodlow and examining psychologist Berg; and

2. Whether substantial evidence supports the ALJ's finding that Plaintiff's subjective testimony is not credible. (JS at 7.)

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.

I

THE ALJ CORRECTLY ASSESSED THE OPINIONS OF DRS. GOODLOW AND BERG

In her first issue, Plaintiff contends that the ALJ erred in assessing the opinions of Dr. Goodlow, a rehabilitation specialist, and Dr. Berg, an examining psychologist ("CE"). The Court will address these in turn.

The ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: kidney stones with chronic abdominal pain; a somatoform disorder; depressive disorder not otherwise specified ("NOS"); personality disorder with schizoid, avoident, histrionic, and borderline traits. (AR 22.)

Based on evaluation of the entire record, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's residual functional capacity ("RFC") allows her to perform less than a full range of medium work, but allows Plaintiff to lift and/or carry 50 pounds occasionally and 25 pounds frequently; push and pull within the same weight limits; stand and/or walk for six hours out of an eight-hour workday with regular breaks; sit for six hours out of an eight-hour workday with regular breaks; and frequently climb stairs, stoop, kneel, and crouch.*fn1

The ALJ noted that Plaintiff has a history of kidney stones with abdominal pain, diverticulosis, and irritable bowel syndrome. (AR 26.) Examining physicians Drs. Kestenbaum and Atchison found no clear cause for Plaintiff's pain in her gastrointestinal system. (AR 277-280.) Plaintiff continually complained of abdominal pain, and was prescribed medication and exercise. In August 2009, medical imaging showed an unremarkable colon. (AR 736-737.)

After not seeing a physician between June and October 2008, Plaintiff saw Dr. Goodlow on October 8, 2008. (AR 402-403.) Plaintiff exhibited some tenderness during the examination, but otherwise there were overall normal results. (Id.) Dr. Goodlow prescribed that Plaintiff should receive medication and a back brace and return for a follow-up in four weeks. (Id.)

Plaintiff received imaging of her kidney, ureter, and bladder in November 2008 which yielded unremarkable results. (AT 434-435.) She still complained of abdominal pain through August 2009 but again, the examination findings and ...


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