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Bifarella v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 30, 2014

SHIRLEY BIFARELLA, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For Shirley Bifarella, Plaintiff: Bess M. Brewer, Bess M. Brewer, Sacramento, CA.

For Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant: Ben A. Porter, GOVT, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office Of The General Counsel, SSA, San Francisco, CA; Bobbie J. Montoya, ss, LEAD ATTORNEY, United States Attorney's Office, Sacramento, CA.

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ORDER

EDMUND F. BRENNAN, UNITED STATES 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, defendant's motion is granted and plaintiff's motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff protectively filed an application for a period of disability and DIB on May 11, 2010, alleging that she had been disabled since May 1, 2007.[1] Administrative Record (" AR" ) 66, 135-142. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. Id. at 68-72, 74-78. On September 7, 2011, a hearing was held before administrative law judge (" ALJ" ) William C. Thompson, Jr. Id. at 43-65. Plaintiff was represented by counsel at the hearing, at which she and a vocational expert (" VE" ) testified. Id.

On October 18, 2011, the ALJ issued a decision finding that plaintiff was not disabled under sections 216(i) and 223(d) of the Act.[2] Id. at 25-38. The ALJ made the following specific findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through March 31, 2014 (Exhibit 10E).
2. The record contains no evidence that the claimant engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 30, 2009, the amended alleged onset date (Exhibit 2D) (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
* * *
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative discs of the lumbar and cervical spine (Exhibit 5F, p. 5), fibromyalgia (Exhibit

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4F, p. 4; Exhibit 5F, p. 5), history of skin cancer, status post treatment without recurrence (Exhibit 3F, p. 8; Exhibit 5F, p. 1), and obesity (Exhibit 4F. p. 8; Exhibit 5F, p. 5) (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
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4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
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5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except: the claimant cannot climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. The claimant cannot work at heights or around hazardous machinery.
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6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
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7. The claimant was born on October 9, 1957 and was 49 years old, which is defined as an individual " closely approaching advanced age," on the alleged ...

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