Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ignacio Rodriguez v. Carolyn W. Colvin

April 4, 2013

IGNACIO RODRIGUEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,*FN1 DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert N. Block United States Magistrate Judge

O

ORDER AFFIRMING DECISION OF COMMISSIONER

Plaintiff filed a Complaint herein on March 28, 2012, seeking review of the Commissioner's denial of his application for disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits. In accordance with the Court's Case Management Order, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation on March 4, 2013. Thus, this matter now is ready for decision.*fn2

DISPUTED ISSUES

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, the disputed issues that plaintiff is raising as the grounds for reversal and remand are as follows:

1. Whether the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") properly considered all of the relevant medical evidence.

2. Whether the ALJ made proper adverse credibility determinations with respect to plaintiff and his daughter.

3. Whether the ALJ made a proper vocational determination at step five of the Commissioner's sequential evaluation process.

DISCUSSION

Preliminary, the Court will address the Commissioner's contention that, since there was a previous unfavorable decision by ALJ Wurzel in April 2004, the current case, adjudicated by ALJ Walters, is governed by Chavez v. Bowen, 844 F.2d 691 (9th Cir. 1988). (See Jt Stip at 10-12.) In Chavez, 844 F.2d at 693, the Ninth Circuit held that principles of res judicata apply to previous administrative decisions regarding disability and impose an obligation on the claimant to come forward with new and material evidence of changed circumstances in order to overcome the presumption of continuing non-disability. Moreover, the previous ALJ's findings concerning residual functional capacity ("RFC"), education, and work experience are entitled to some preclusive effect, and such findings cannot be reconsidered by a subsequent ALJ absent new information not presented to the first ALJ. See Stubbs-Danielson v. Astrue, 539 F.3d 1169, 1173 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing Chavez, 844 F.2d at 694).

Here, the Commissioner contends that a preclusive effect attaches to ALJ Wurzel's (1) determination of non-disability and (2) determination that plaintiff had an RFC for light work without any mental limitations. (See Jt Stip at 10-12.) However, the record reflects that ALJ Walters subsequently determined that plaintiff had in fact "established a changed circumstance with new impairments" (albeit a change that was "not substantial"). (See AR 17.) Moreover, ALJ Walters considered new medical information that was not presented to ALJ Wurzel in determining plaintiff's RFC and concluded that plaintiff's "residual functional capacity has somewhat changed due to the resolution of some impairments and the symptoms of new impairments." (See AR 19.) Accordingly, the Court finds that ALJ Walters implicitly concluded that plaintiff had overcome the presumption of continuing non-disability and that reconsideration of plaintiff's RFC was not barred by ALJ Wurzel's decision.

The Court therefore will now turn to the three disputed issues raised by plaintiff.

A. Reversal is not warranted based on the ALJ's alleged failure to properly consider the relevant medical evidence (Disputed Issue No 1).

Disputed Issue No. 1 is directed to the alleged failure by ALJ Walters ("ALJ") to properly consider the relevant medical evidence. (See Jt Stip at 4-9.) Plaintiff contends that the ALJ improperly credited the opinion of the state agency physician, Dr. Ombres, because she is only an ophthalmologist. (See Jt Stip at 4-6.) Plaintiff also contends that the ALJ improperly rejected the opinion of his treating physician, Dr. Evans, who diagnosed plaintiff with fibromyalgia. (See Jt Stip at 7.) Finally, plaintiff contends that the ALJ improperly rejected the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.