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Tucker v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 17, 2015

JAMES L. TUCKER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN 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") terminating plaintiff's previously granted 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 defendant's motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed an application for a period of disability and DIB on May 24, 2001, alleging that he had been disabled since May 1, 2001. Administrative Record ("AR") 402. On February 27, 2003, administrative law judge ("ALJ") Robert K. Rogers found that plaintiff was disabled as of May 1, 2001 and awarded DIB benefits. Id. at 398-408. On March 6, 2012, the Social Security Administration determined that plaintiff was no longer disabled as of February 1, 2012. Id. at 67-70. Plaintiff subsequently requested a hearing before an ALJ. Id. at 110-111. On May 13, 2013, a hearing was held before ALJ L. Kalei Fong. Id. at 24-54. Plaintiff was represented by counsel at the hearing, at which he and a vocational expert ("VE") testified. Id.

On July 15, 2013, the ALJ issued a decision finding that plaintiff was no longer disabled under sections 216(i) and 223(f) of the Act. Id. at 6-23. The ALJ made the following specific findings:

1. The most recent favorable medical decision finding that the claimant was disabled is the decision dated May 1, 2001. This is known as the "comparison point decision" or CPD.[1]
2. At the time of the CPD, the claimant had the following medically determinable impairments: spinal stenosis, hypertension, obesity, and depression. These impairments were found to result in the residual functional capacity to lift and/or carry fifty pounds occasionally and twenty-five pounds frequently. He could stand and/or walk for forty-five minutes at one time. He could sit for thirty minutes at one time. The claimant required an option to alternate sitting and standing at will and additional unscheduled breaks totaling two hours in an eight-hour workday. The claimant could perform task-oriented jobs that required no more than occasional contact with the public (5B/5). The claimant was restricted from using foot controls (5B/8).
3. Through February 1, 2012, the date the claimant's disability ended, the claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity (20 CFR 404.1594(f)(1)).
4. The medical evidence establishes that as of February 1, 2012, the claimant had the following medically determinable impairments: cervical and lumbar degenerative disk disease, obesity, hypertension, migraine headaches, bilateral median neuropathy at the wrists, peripheral neuropathy of the upper extremities, obstructive sleep apnea, pre-type II diabetes, a bone spur in the right ankle, and osteoarthritis of the right knee.
5. Since February 1, 2012, the claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments which met or medically equaled the severity of an impairment listed in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1525 and 404.1526).
* * *
6. Medical improvement occurred as of February 1, 2012 (20 CFR 404.1594(b)(1)).
7. The claimant's medical improvement is related to the ability to work because it resulted in an increase in the claimant's residual functional ...

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