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Santiago v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 30, 2015

CESAR A. SANTIAGO, 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 his applications, in part, for a period of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. The parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment. For the reasons discussed below, the Commissioner's motion is granted and plaintiff's motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed applications for a period of disability, DIB, and SSI on May 28, 2010, alleging that he had been disabled since December 5, 2009. Administrative Record ("AR") 111-120. Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration. Id. at 54-59, 62-68. On April 26, 2012, a hearing was held before administrative law judge ("ALJ") Trevor Skarda. Id. at 25-46. Plaintiff was represented by counsel at the hearings, at which he and a vocational expert ("VE") testified. Id.

On June 5, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision finding that plaintiff was not disabled prior to January 22, 2012, but that he became disabled on that date under sections 216(i), 223(d), and 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Act.[1] Id. at 12-20. The ALJ made the following specific findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2013.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq. ).
3. Since the alleged onset date of disability, December 5, 2009, the claimant had had [sic] the following severe impairments: Bronchial asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, right leg lymphedema, and morbid obesity (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
* * *
4. Since the alleged onset date of disability, December 5, 2009, the claimant has not had 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, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
* * *
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that prior to January 22, 2012, the date the claimant became disabled, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). The claimant can stand or walk 2 hours during an 8-hour workday and lift or carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. He can occasionally climb ramps or stairs, kneel, and crawl, frequently balance, stoop, or crouch, and never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. The claimant should avoid moderate exposure to pulmonary irritants such as fumes, odors, dusts, gases, and poor ventilated areas, and all exposure to dangerous operational control of moving machinery and unprotected heights.
* * *
6. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that beginning on January 22, 2012, the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). The claimant can stand or walk 2 hours during an 8-hour workday and lift or carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. He can occasionally climb ramps or stairs, kneel, and crawl, frequently balance, stoop, or crouch, and never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. The claimant should avoid moderate exposure to pulmonary irritants such as fumes, odors, dusts, gases, and poor ventilated areas, and all exposure to dangerous operational control of moving machinery and unprotected heights. He must elevate one leg, more than 20% of the workday, at or above chest level. The claimant would miss work more than one time per month on an ongoing basis and requires two additional breaks 15 minutes or greater each day. He is unable to sustain work activity on a regular basis for 8 hours a day 40 hours a week
* * *
7. Since December 5, 2009, the claimant has been unable to perform any past relevant work (20 ...

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