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Daniel Lawrence Bruyn v. Carolyn W. Colvin

March 18, 2013

DANIEL LAWRENCE BRUYN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,*FN1 ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Jacqueline Chooljian United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

I. SUMMARY

On August 10, 2012, plaintiff Daniel Lawrence Bruyn ("plaintiff") filed a Complaint seeking review of the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of plaintiff's application for benefits. The parties have consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the parties' cross motions for summary judgment, respectively ("Plaintiff's Motion") and ("Defendant's Motion").

The Court has taken both motions under submission without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15; August 20, 2012 Case Management Order ¶ 5.

Based on the record as a whole and the applicable law, the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED. The findings of the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") are supported by substantial evidence and are free from material error.*fn2

II. BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION On October 30, 2009, plaintiff filed an application for Supplemental

Security Income benefits. (Administrative Record ("AR") 18, 149). Plaintiff asserted that he became disabled on March 1, 1987, due to a seizure disorder. (AR 198). The ALJ examined the medical record and heard testimony from plaintiff (who was represented by counsel) and a vocational expert on April 27, 2011. (AR 35-58).

On June 8, 2011, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled through the date of the decision. (AR 18-24). Specifically, the ALJ found: (1) plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairment: seizure disorder (AR 20); (2) plaintiff's impairments, considered singly or in combination, did not meet or medically equal a listed impairment (AR 21); (3) plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity to perform light work (20 C.F.R. §416.967(b)) with additional limitations (AR 21); (4) plaintiff had no past relevant work (AR 23); (5) there are*fn3 jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff could perform, specifically cashier II and hand packager (AR 24); and (6) plaintiff's allegations regarding his limitations were not credible to the extent they were inconsistent with the ALJ's residual functional capacity assessment (AR 22).

The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's application for review. (AR 1).

III. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Sequential Evaluation Process

To qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must show that the claimant is unable "to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1110 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A)) (internal quotation marks omitted). The impairment must render the claimant incapable of performing the work claimant previously performed and incapable of performing any other substantial gainful employment that exists in the national economy. Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A)).

In assessing whether a claimant is disabled, an ALJ is to follow a five-step sequential evaluation process:

(1) Is the claimant presently engaged in substantial gainful activity? If so, the claimant is not disabled. If not, proceed to step two.

(2) Is the claimant's alleged impairment sufficiently severe to limit the claimant's ability to work? If not, the claimant is not ...


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