United States District Court, C.D. California, Western 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 (Motion for Summary Judgment ["Plaintiff's Brief"]; Defendant's Cross Motion for Summary Judgment Memorandum ["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 affirmed.
On September 22, 2009, plaintiff Tim Eggbrecht filed applications for a period of disability or Disability Insurance Benefits and for Supplemental Security Income, alleging an inability to work since July 2, 2009. (See Administrative Record ["AR"] 106-15). On September 16, 2011 (following a hearing on August 22, 2011, see AR 36-50), an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") determined that plaintiff had the following severe impairments - "bilateral elbow tendinopathy, lumbar degenerative disc disease, early osteoarthritis of the knees, bilateral ankle osteroarthritis, and plantar fasciitis" - but found that plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. (See AR 19-28).
Following the Appeals Council's denial of plaintiff's request for a review of the hearing decision (see AR 1-4), plaintiff filed this action.
Plaintiff solely alleges that the ALJ erred in failing to articulate legally sufficient and factually supported reasons for rejecting petitioner's credibility. After reviewing the matter, the Court concludes that the decision of the Commissioner should be affirmed.
Plaintiff asserts that the ALJ failed to provide proper reasons for finding plaintiff not fully credible. Defendant asserts that the ALJ properly assessed plaintiff's credibility.
At the administrative hearing, plaintiff testified he rents a room and has a property in another county. He has a high school diploma.
He testified he has problems with his elbows, wrists, knees, both ankles, lower back, and right hip. His injuries pre-date July 2, 2009 (his alleged onset date), when he suffered injuries when he was attacked by a sheriff deputy and he alleges they have been progressive, and have grown worse the last few years. He severely sprained his left ankle in March 2005 (and was in a cast for approximately 8 weeks), but it did not heal correctly and arthritis set in. The pain in his left ankle is consistent (making it painful for him to walk at times); he has to work it in the morning and the evening, and he went to therapy for it earlier in 2011. The therapy seemed to help, but the problem kept coming back because he did not do therapy consistently. The pain in his back fluctuates, depending on how active he is. He has had sleep apnea periodically for the last couple of years. He also had chest pains and breathing difficulties. He is not sure if the sleep apnea and breathing issues were due to extra weight gain.
When asked how he treats his symptoms, he stated, "I have been pretty much trying to take better care of myself. Taking it easy. I have been taking medication when I need to. Seeing the doctors when I need to..." He currently does not take any medication, but previously took several pain medications. He cannot afford prescription medications. He takes aspirin and over-the-counter medication which help to relieve his symptoms.
He testified that the doctor recommended he wear boots for his ankle problem, which he does. One doctor suggested surgery for his back if the problem continues or gets worse (he did not know the kind of surgery).
He testified that any physical labor limits his ability to work. He can stand for a short time (about 30 minutes) before he needs to sit or walk or engage in some kind of movement. He can sit for 30 minutes to possibly 1 hour before he is uncomfortable. He needs to shift positions throughout the day. He can lift 25 pounds occasionally throughout the day.
He testified he still drives occasionally when he needs to. Once a year he does weed clearance on his property, but needs help if the weeds are out of control. He ...