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Webber v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 14, 2017

JASON ALAN WEBBER, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, [1] Defendant.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S SOCIAL SECURITY COMPLAINT

          Barbara A. McAuliffe UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Jason Webber (“Plaintiff”) seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying his application for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) pursuant to Title II of the Social Security Act. The matter is currently before the Court on the parties' briefs, which were submitted, without oral argument, to the Honorable Magistrate Judge Barbara A. McAuliffe. Having carefully considered the parties' briefs as well as the entire record in this case, the Court finds the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) to be supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole and based upon proper legal standards. Accordingly, this Court affirms the agency's determination to deny benefits.

         BACKGROUND

         On May 22, 2012, Plaintiff filed his current application for disability insurance benefits, alleging disability beginning April 29, 2011. AR 10. The Commissioner initially denied Plaintiff's claim on October 29, 2012. AR 10. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a timely request for a hearing on July 17, 2013. AR 102. On May 19, 2014, Plaintiff testified at the hearing. AR 27-28. On July 14, 2014, ALJ John Heyer denied Plaintiff's application. AR 22. On July 14, 2014, the Appeals Council denied review. AR 1. This appeal followed.

         Hearing Testimony

         The ALJ held an administrative hearing on May 19, 2014, in San Francisco, California. AR 27. At the hearing, Plaintiff appeared and testified with the help of an attorney, and the ALJ sought testimony from vocational expert (“VE”) Joel Greenberg. AR 27-28.

         Plaintiff was born on June 29, 1967, and was 46 years old at the time of the hearing. AR 30. Prior to his alleged disability, Plaintiff worked for eight years as a merchandiser and salesman for Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream. AR 30-31. Plaintiff was also previously employed at Vons Grocery Store for one year, as a night clerk primarily stocking shelves, and before that, as a technician for California Streamers. AR 31-32. Plaintiff also has five years of experience working in the construction industry. AR 32-33. Plaintiff claims he is not able to perform in any of his previous employment capacities due to fibromyalgia and persistent pain in his knee. AR 30.

         When asked about a typical day, Plaintiff testified that he gets assistance getting out of bed in the morning, does not drive, vacuum, sweep, clean, cook, do laundry, go for walks, do yardwork, or any chores. AR 30, 36-38. He does not watch much television, and he typically does not read or use the computer for more than fifteen minutes. AR 37-38. He is restless and in pain throughout the night, and he has difficulty showering and cleaning himself. AR 41.

         When asked about his limitations, Plaintiff testified that he could lift five pounds, stand for about fifteen to twenty minutes, walk for about fifteen to twenty minutes, and sit for about thirty minutes at a time. AR 35. Plaintiff testified that walking makes his knee swell which later requires his knee to be iced and elevated. AR 45. If he puts too much pressure on his knee over the course of a day, that may leave Plaintiff incapacitated for the following three days. AR 45. In all, Plaintiff spends about five hours a day sitting in his recliner with his knee elevated. AR 46.

         Thereafter, the ALJ elicited the testimony of VE Greenberg. AR 50. Over several hypothetical questions, the VE testified that a hypothetical individual who can lift more than 10 pounds, sit for six hours in an eight hour day, and stand and walk for two hours in an eight hour day but who is limited to simple repetitive tasks with no public contact could perform sedentary unskilled work as an election clerk, inspector/table worker, and a small products assembly worker. AR 54-56.

         Relevant Medical Evidence

         The entire medical record was reviewed by the Court. The Court will reference the medical evidence to the extent it is necessary to the Court's decision. AR 229-401.

         THE ...


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