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Demetria Harrison v. Carolyn W. Colvin

March 29, 2013

DEMETRIA HARRISON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,*FN1 ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



ORDER

Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying her applications for a period of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. The parties' cross-motions for summary judgment are pending. For the reasons discussed below, the court grants the Commissioner's motion and denies plaintiff's motion.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff applied for a period of disability, DIB and SSI on May 20, 2008, alleging that she had been disabled since March 15, 2008. Administrative Record ("AR") 129--133, 134-37. Plaintiff's applications were initially denied on August 7, 2008, and upon reconsideration on March 3, 2009. Id. at 69-73, 75-81. On May 4, 2010, a hearing was held before administrative law judge ("ALJ") Sara A. Gillis. Id. at 31-61. Plaintiff was represented by counsel at the hearing, at which she and an impartial vocational expert testified. Id.

On June 25, 2010, the ALJ issued a decision finding that plaintiff was not disabled under sections 216(I), 223(d), and 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Act.*fn2 Id. at 17-26. The ALJ made the following specific findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2013.

2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 15, 2008, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).

3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: bilateral congenital flatfoot pes planovalgus deformity, bilateral status post triple arthrodesis with neuropathy, left great toe degenerative osteoarthritis, left hip degenerative joint disease (DJD), lumbar disc protrusion, obesity and history of left shoulder impingement status post surgery (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)). ...

4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926). ...

5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform the sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except walk less than one hour, and stand less than one hour but she can sit unrestricted during a workday. She can occasionally push/pull with the left upper extremity but must totally avoid climbing ladders/ropes/scaffolds. She can occasionally climb ramps and stairs and occasionally crawl/crouch/kneel/stoop. She must avoid overhead reaching with the left upper extremity, and use cane for ambulation.

...

6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as an office assistant. This work does not require the performance of work related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965). ...

7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from May 15, 2008, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(f) and 416.920(f)).

Id. at 19-25.

On August 15, 2010, plaintiff requested that the Appeals Council review the ALJ's decision. Id. at 12. However, on June 24, 2011, the Appeals Council denied review, leaving the ALJ's decision as the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security. Id. at 1-3.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

The Commissioner's decision that a claimant is not disabled will be upheld if the findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence in the record and the proper legal standards were applied. Schneider v. Comm'r of the Soc. Sec. Admin., 223 F.3d 968, 973 (9th Cir. 2000); Morgan v. Comm'r of the Soc. Sec. Admin., 169 ...


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