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Murray v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 7, 2017

MICHAEL ALAN MURRAY, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S SOCIAL SECURITY APPEAL (ECF NOS. 16, 17)

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Michael Alan Murray (“Plaintiff”) seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner” or “Defendant”) denying his application for disability benefits pursuant to the Social Security Act. The matter is currently before the Court on the parties' briefs, which were submitted, without oral argument, to Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone.[1]

         Plaintiff suffers from status post left shoulder arthroscopy for impingement of rotator cuff pathology with full range of motion, bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder, anxiety disorder not otherwise specified with mixed anxiety and depressive symptoms. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Social Security appeal shall be granted.

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff protectively filed a Title XVI application for supplemental security income on December 31, 2012. (AR 60; 157-165.) Plaintiff's application was initially denied on May 10, 2013, and denied upon reconsideration on November 25, 2013. (AR 87-91, 97-101.) Plaintiff requested and received a hearing before Administrative Law Judge Andrew Verne (“the ALJ”). Plaintiff appeared for a hearing on April 15, 2015. (AR 26-59.) On July 13, 2015, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled. (AR 7-21.) The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on August 11, 2016. (AR 1-3.)

         A. Relevant Hearing Testimony

         Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing on April 15, 2015. (AR 31-53.) Plaintiff was born on May 13, 1981. (AR 31.) He is 6 feet tall and weighs 185 pounds. (AR 31-32.) Plaintiff is left handed. (AR 32.) Plaintiff was married and has three children ages 13, 9, and 3. (AR 32.) His children live with their mother, and Plaintiff has been living with his grandparents and his mother for about a year. (AR 32.) Plaintiff worked part time for a while. (AR 32.) He was homeless, living in the streets, and he had no choice. (AR 32.) Plaintiff does not receive any public assistance because he is an ex-drug offender. (AR 33.)

         Plaintiff does not have a driver's license because he was unable to pass the test although he tried about six times. (AR 33.) He is not interested so he cannot remember the information. (AR 33-34.) Plaintiff gets around by riding his bicycle. (AR 34.) Plaintiff is able to read and write. (AR 34.)

         Plaintiff completed the eleventh grade, but only received enough credits for the ninth grade. (AR 35.) Plaintiff was in special education classes and had anger problems, problems getting along with people, and problems concentrating. (AR 35.)

         Plaintiff has spent about 10 of the last 15 years in jail. (AR 34.) His family picked him up off the streets and is helping him. (AR 34.) Plaintiff has never worked longer than six months at a job in his life. (AR 35.) He cannot hold a job and went to prison for hurting someone at work. (AR 35.) Plaintiff was working on a production line and then got a promotion to a peanut brittle cook at Blue Creek Foods in 2002. (AR 37.) He worked there for 30 days. (AR 37.) He was doing a good job but he thought people were messing with him. (AR 38.) Plaintiff thought they were urinating in his water and lunch so he whacked them in the head and went to prison. (AR 35.) Plaintiff went to a substance abuse program in prison. (AR 35.) He was kicked out three times. (AR 35.) He went into the hole and they did not want to give up on him so they put him back in the program. (AR 35-36.) He was paroled and received a certificate. (AR 36.) Plaintiff worked in the print shop for a while. (AR 36.) They wanted him to get his GED but he was fighting and doing stuff in prison so he could not get it. (AR 36.)

         Plaintiff also worked in 2004 and 2005 for As Is Insurance and Salvage Services of America doing insurance claims repos. (AR 38.) He was working in the warehouse and customer service for a bit, but then he went to prison. (AR 38.) They eventually went out of business. (AR 38.) Plaintiff lied on his application stating that he had a diploma and a bunch of stuff so they would hire him. (AR 39.) On his birthday, Plaintiff got a DUI and went to prison. (AR 39.) He got drunk; there was a high speed chase and a wreck. (AR 39.)

         Plaintiff is unable to work because he is schizophrenic, thinks people want to harm him, and has ear problems. (AR 40.) Plaintiff has been seeing Dr. Garcia since he was released from prison in 2010. (AR 41.) He also sees Dr. King at the same office. (AR 41-42.) Plaintiff sees Dr. Vanek for his shoulder. (AR 42.) He has torn ligaments and structural damage because the police beat him up. (AR 42.) Plaintiff also has problems with his legs and his toes are numb. (AR 42.) He was stabbed eight times while he was in prison. (AR 42.)

         Plaintiff was just in the hospital due to his heart racing. (AR 45.) He stayed overnight and they said it was from his mental health condition. (AR 45.)

         Plaintiff's shoulder is worse on the left side. (AR 49.) Plaintiff had surgery on April 28, 2014, but it was bad the whole time he was in prison, about two and a half years. (AR 49.) His shoulder is worse since his surgery. (AR 50.) His right shoulder is also worse and he has not had surgery on it. (AR 50.) He fired his specialist and he has not seen another specialist yet. (AR 50.) It hurts Plaintiff to reach above his shoulders. (AR 50.) Anything that Plaintiff does with his arms hurts, even gripping. (AR 51.) The physical therapist said that his grip on the left was 60 to 65 percent compared to 110 on the right. (AR 51.) Everything Plaintiff does causes him to have pain. (AR 51.) If Plaintiff reaches out in front of him his shoulder will pop and he has pain. (AR 51.) Reaching above his head is worse than reaching in front of himself. (AR 52.)

         A vocational expert (“VE”) Jose L. Chaparro also testified at the hearing. (AR 54-58.)

         B. ALJ Findings

         The ALJ made the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

• Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the application date of December 31, 2012.
• Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder, anxiety disorder not otherwise specified with mixed ...

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