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Manuel Garcia v. Michael J. Astrue

January 29, 2013

MANUEL GARCIA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S SOCIAL SECURITY COMPLAINT (Docket No. 1)

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Manuel Garcia ("Plaintiff") seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the "Commissioner" or "Defendant") denying his application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") pursuant to Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3).

The matter is currently before the Court on the parties' briefs, which were submitted, without oral argument, to the Honorable Sheila K. Oberto, United States Magistrate Judge.*fn1

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was born in 1957, estimates that he has a 10th grade education, and worked as a construction worker, fruit harvest worker, forklift operator, mechanic helper, and stores laborer. (Administrative Record ("AR") 32-34, 47-48, 178, 186, 223, 227.) On August 28, 2009, Plaintiff filed an application for DIB, and on October 14, 2009, filed an application for SSI, alleging disability beginning on June 17, 2008, due to a heart condition and a replaced valve in the heart.*fn2 (AR 178-85, 186-93, 222.)

A. Relevant Medical Evidence*fn3

On June 13, 2008, Plaintiff was admitted to Bakersfield Heart Hospital for possible unstable angina with hypertension and electrocardiogram changes. (AR 271-328.) The Patient Admission Database form indicates that the languages spoken by Plaintiff are English and Spanish, and that no interpreter was needed. (AR 318.) Upon discharge, Plaintiff's daughter was presented with an English-language version of the Angiography Discharge Instructions, and Plaintiff signed a Spanish-language version. (AR 311-12.)

On March 5, 2009, Sarabjit Purewal, M.D., reported that Plaintiff was being admitted to Bakersfield Memorial Hospital for an aortic valve replacement, and that he was a "52-year-old Hispanic gentleman who speaks little English . . ." (AR 332-33.)

B. Administrative Reports

1. Disability Report - Adult

An unsigned and undated Adult Disability Report indicates that Plaintiff cannot speak and understand English and that his preferred language is Spanish. (AR 221-28.) The report also states that Plaintiff can read, understand, and write more than his name in English. (AR 221.) Plaintiff would write and complete reports in his job as a mechanic, but the language of those reports is not indicated. (AR 223.) The report further notes that Plaintiff has a 10th grade education. (AR 227.)

2. Function Report - Adult

An unsigned and undated Adult Function Report states that Plaintiff can follow written and spoken instructions "well," but makes no indication as to any language requirement regarding those instructions. (AR 234.)

3. Medical/Vocational Decision Guides

A December 17, 2009, Medical/Vocational Analysis prepared by the Commissioner indicates that Plaintiff cannot read, write, or communicate in English, but makes no determination as to literacy. (AR 237.) However, a March 29, 2010, Medical/Vocational Analysis makes no determination as to Plaintiff's ability to read, write, and communicate in English. (AR 249.)

C. Administrative Hearing

The Commissioner denied Plaintiff's applications initially and again on reconsideration; consequently, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an administrative law judge ("ALJ"). (AR 91-107.) On April 12, 2011, ALJ Sharon L. Madsen held a hearing in which Plaintiff, represented by ...


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