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Nasaret Asesyan v. Michael J. Astrue

March 5, 2013

NASARET ASESYAN, 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 issue:

1. Whether the Administrative Law Judge'S ("ALJ") failure to impose any manipulative limitations is supported by substantial evidence. (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.

I

THE ALJ'S RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY DETERMINATION IS SUPPORTED BY SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

Plaintiff asserts that the ALJ erred by failing to impose any manipulative limitations in determining his residual functional capacity ("RFC"). For the reasons to be set forth, the Court disagrees and affirms the Decision.

An administrative hearing was held before ALJ Hesse, at which Plaintiff appeared and testified, and was represented by the same attorney who is representing him in this litigation. Testimony was also taken from a vocational expert ("VE"), and a medical expert ("ME"). (AR 33-63.)

Following the hearing, an unfavorable Decision was issued. (AR 12-20.)

The ALJ followed the familiar five step procedure (see AR at 13-14). As such, she determined that Plaintiff's severe impairments at Step Two are diabetes mellitus with peripheral neuropathy, coronary artery disease and disorder of the lumbar spine. (AR 14.) The ALJ noted that Plaintiff has alleged numerous additional medical conditions, but she determined that they do not rise to the level of a severe impairment. These are summarized at AR 15, and include Plaintiff's allegation that he is disabled due to numbness in his fingers, which was first reported on the initial disability report of June 4, 2008. (AR 15, 151.) The ALJ remarked upon this issue in the following portion of her Decision:

"However, during his physical consultative examination on July 28, 2008, [Plaintiff] did not complain of numbness in his fingers and he exhibited a normal grip and finger approximation with sensory examination revealing grossly intact and equal bilaterally sensation. (Exhibit 9F/4) Further, an upper extremity neuro-conduction study conducted in December 2009 showed normal results specifically with the sensory nerve study showing no evidence of axonal degeneration. (Exhibit 15F/4) Again as with [Plaintiff's] other above referenced alleged impairments, [Plaintiff] has not sought specific treatment for the alleged numbness in his fingers and as such the undersigned finds that this condition is not severe based upon the conclusions assessed in his 2008 physical consultative examination, the objective medical evidence and the lack of any treatment history." (AR 15-16.)

The RFC assessed by ALJ Hesse imposed no manipulative limitations concerning Plaintiff's hands. (AR 17.)

Plaintiff asserts error, relying on a form called "Medical Source Statement - Physical" completed by a physician's assistant at St. John Medical Clinic, where Plaintiff received treatment and medication refills on monthly visits between July 2009 ...


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