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Smith v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 31, 2014

BRET LEE SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

ORDER

EDMUND F. BRENNAN, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying her application for a period of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the Social Security Act. The parties' cross-motions for summary judgment are pending. For the reasons discussed below, plaintiff's motion is granted and the Commissioner's motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff protectively filed an application for a period of disability and DIB on June 8, 2006, alleging that he had been disabled since December 29, 1998. Administrative Record ("AR") 276-278. Plaintiff's application was initially denied on November 8, 2006, and upon reconsideration on April 4, 2007. Id. at 182-185, 190-194. On August 19, 2008, a hearing was held before administrative law judge ("ALJ") William Thompson, Jr. Id. at 92-128. On December 24, 2008, the ALJ issued a decision finding that plaintiff was not disabled. Id. at 159-181. However, on August 3, 2009, the Appeals Council issued an order vacating the ALJ's decision and remanding the matter to the ALJ for further proceedings. Id. at 230-234.

On August 14, 2010, a second hearing was held before the ALJ. Id. at 129-152. Plaintiff was represented by counsel at the hearings, at which he and a VE testified. Id. On July 15, 2010, the ALJ issued a decision again finding that plaintiff was not disabled under sections 216(i) and 223(d) of the Act.[1] Id. at 40-85. The ALJ made the following specific findings:

1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on March 31, 2005.
2. The claimant did not engaged in substantial gainful activity during the period from his alleged onset date of December 29, 1998 through his date last insured of March 31, 2005 (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq. ).
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the following severe impairments: status post right L5-S1 hemilaminotomy and discectomy; degenerative disk disease of the cervical spine; major depression; and obesity (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
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4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met 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).
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5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I finds that, through the date last insured, the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b). The claimant can lift or carry up to 20 pounds occasionally, 10 pounds frequently. He can stand and walk up to six hours, and sit up to six hours in an eight hour workday. He should never be required to climb ladders, ropes or scaffolding, or work at heights or hazardous moving machinery. He is limited to work involving simple instructions.
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6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to perform any past relevant ...

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