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Thompson v. Colvin

United States District Court, C.D. California

March 31, 2015

TAMMARA THOMPSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

SHERI PYM, Magistrate Judge.

I.

INTRODUCTION

On October 21, 2013, plaintiff Tammara Thompson filed a complaint against the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("Commissioner"), seeking a review of a denial of supplemental security income ("SSI"). Both plaintiff and defendant have consented to proceed for all purposes before the assigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 636(c). The court deems the matter suitable for adjudication without oral argument.

Plaintiff presents one disputed issue for decision, whether the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") erred at step five of the sequential evaluation process by failing to identify and explain inconsistencies between the vocational expert's testimony and the Dictionary of Occupational Titles ("DOT"). Memorandum in Support of Complaint ("P. Mem.") at 5-16; Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Answer ("D. Mem.") at 2-8.

Having carefully studied, inter alia, the parties' moving papers, the Administrative Record ("AR"), and the decision of the ALJ, the court concludes that, as detailed herein, the ALJ did not err at step five. Consequently, the court affirms the decision of the Commissioner denying benefits.

II.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was thirty-seven years old on June 14, 2002, the alleged onset date of disability.[1] AR at 159. She has a high school diploma and past relevant work as a playground monitor, sales person, and laborer - stores. Id. at 33, 49, 218.

On September 10, 2010, plaintiff filed an application for SSI, alleging an onset date of June 14, 2002 due to fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, arthritis, asthma, depression.[2] Id. at 159, 172. The Commissioner denied plaintiff's application initially and upon reconsideration, after which she filed a request for a hearing. Id. at 104-15, 117-18.

On June 7, 2012, plaintiff, represented by counsel, appeared and testified before the ALJ. Id. at 45-72. Tony Scott, a vocational expert ("VE"), also provided testimony. Id. at 65-71. On June 29, 2012, the ALJ denied plaintiff's claim for benefits. Id. at 23-35.

Applying the well-known five-step sequential evaluation process, the ALJ found, at step one, that plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 10, 2010, the application date. Id. at 25.

At step two, the ALJ found that plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments: asthma, obesity, degenerative disc disease, and depression. Id.

At step three, the ALJ found that plaintiff's impairments, whether individually or in combination, did not meet or medically equal one of the listed impairments set forth in 20 C.F.R. part ...


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