United States District Court, C.D. California, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
STEPHEN J. HILLMAN, Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the Court for review of the decision by the Commissioner of Social Security denying plaintiff's applications for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties have consented that the case may be handled by the undersigned. The action arises under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), which authorizes the Court to enter judgment upon the pleadings and transcript of the record before the Commissioner. The plaintiff and the defendant have filed their pleadings (Brief with Points and Authorities in Support of Plaintiff's Complaint ["Plaintiff's Brief"]; Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Answer ["Defendant's Brief"]), and the defendant has filed the certified transcript of record. After reviewing the matter, the Court concludes that the decision of the Commissioner should be reversed and remanded.
On September 29, 2011, plaintiff John Donald Paulsrud, Jr. filed applications for period of disability or Disability Insurance Benefits and for Supplemental Security Income, alleging an inability to work since January 31, 2007. (See Administrative Record ["AR"] 177-94). On February 8, 2013 (following a hearing on January 28, 2013, see AR 26-49), an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") determined that plaintiff had the following severe combination of impairments - "degenerative disc disease; cervical myofasical strain; thoracic myofascial strain; lumbar myofascial strain; right knee osteoarthritis; left patellofemoral syndrome; bilateral trapezial strain; right 2nd digit amputation; degenerative changes of the right 2nd metacarpophalangeal joint" - but found that plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. (See AR 10-20).
Following the Appeals Council's denial of plaintiff's request for a review of the hearing decision (see AR 1-3), plaintiff filed this action in this Court.
Plaintiff solely alleges that the ALJ erred in failing to properly assess plaintiff's credibility. After reviewing the matter, the Court concludes that the decision of the Commissioner should be reversed and remanded.
Plaintiff asserts that the ALJ failed to provide clear and convincing reasons for finding plaintiff not fully credible. Defendant asserts that the ALJ properly assessed plaintiff's credibility.
At the administrative hearing, plaintiff testified that he lives in a house with his wife and mother.
He testified that he has a driver's license, and has no problems driving a car. During the day, he watches television, usually sitting but sometimes lying down. When necessary, he gets his mother something to eat or takes his wife to the store. He sometimes does the dishes for his wife, but his wife now does the yard work (because of his back and hands impairments). He has no problem taking a shower or brushing his teeth. He does not use a computer (he does not have one). He occasionally has trouble sleeping at night.
He testified that the only reason he leaves the house is to go to the store and that he does not have any friends. He used to build models, but no longer does.
He testified that he is unable to work because of his impairments in his back, both hands, neck and right shoulder. He suffers pain (neither sharp nor dull) in his lower back and mid-back. The level of back pain varies throughout the day. He uses heat, cold and medication to alleviate his back pain. With medication, his back pain rates as 7 out of 10. His back pain does not radiate to his legs or arms. He has never used or been recommended any shot or a TENS unit (or any electrodes) for his back pain. Every day and throughout the day he suffers sharp pain in his knuckles. With medication, the pain in his knuckles rates 8 out of 10.) He suffers pain from his right shoulder to his neck. The level of pain varies. His pain typically rates about 5 out of 10. His doctor has never recommended surgery.
He testified he last saw his doctor on January 22, 2013, at which time he was prescribed the following pills: Levoxyl, Prednisone, Piroxicam, Tramado calcium and Vitamin D. He takes Tramadol once a day. The pills are "not really" effective for his pain; they help "slightly."
He testified he is able to lift ten pounds at most. He can hold a gallon of milk with one hand. He can sit for an hour before he has to stand up or move around because of his pain. After he stands up and moves around, he usually walks to the kitchen, gets something to drink, and stands watching television for a few minutes before he is able to sit again. He can stand for about an hour and a half, or an hour and 45 minutes, before he feels back pain. He does not have any problems walking. He is able to bend over ...