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Thiam v. Berryhill

United States District Court, N.D. California

May 10, 2018

WADA DOGO THIAM, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         In this social security action, plaintiff appeals the denial of disability benefits. For the reasons stated herein, plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is Denied and the Acting Commissioner's cross-motion for summary judgment is Granted.

         STATEMENT

         1. Procedural History.

         On July 25, 2013, plaintiff Wada Dogo Thiam applied for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income alleging she has been unable to work since January 1, 2013, due to high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, memory loss, diabetic neuropathy, arthritis, anxiety, and trouble sleeping (AR 190). Her application was denied both initially and upon reconsideration (AR 99, 106). A request for an administrative hearing, though filed late, was granted (AR 112, 115, 116).

         On September 1, 2015, Thiam had a hearing before the ALJ (AR 31-45). The ALJ rendered a decision on September 22, 2015, finding that Thiam was not disabled (AR 24). Thiam requested administrative review, and the Appeals Council denied the request on April 26, 2017 (AR 1, 8-10). Thiam filed this action on June 20, 2017, seeking judicial review pursuant to Section 405(g) of Title 42 of the United States Code. The parties now cross-move for summary judgment.

         2. Medical Evidence.

         The medical evidence was summarized in the ALJ's decision (AR 19-23). This order will also briefly review both Thiam's self-reported symptoms and the medical opinion evidence.

         A. Self-Reported Symptoms.

         Thiam reported symptoms including whole-body pain, especially in her arms, legs, and right knee; left foot weakness with possible radiculopathy; constant swelling in her legs and arms; swelling in her legs if she sits for any length of time; burning on both sides of her feet and inability to walk or stand for long periods due to neuropathy; finger swelling; depression; anxiety; irritability; social withdrawal; tearfulness; forgetfulness; difficulty following written or spoken instructions; getting upset with and fear of others; diminished interest and pleasure in most activities; decreased appetite; inappropriate guilt; diminished concentration and memory; difficulty with stress and change in routine; low energy and motivation; hypervigilance; recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of a traumatic event; and insomnia (AR 213-23, 247-54, 358-60, 363-95, 441-80).

         B. Joanna Eveland, M.D.

         Dr. Eveland was Thiam's treating physician from July 5, 2011, until October 21, 2013. In her medical source statement, Dr. Eveland indicated that she diagnosed Thiam with diabetes, hypertension, depression, and muscle pain. She described Thiam's prognosis as “fair.” She opined that in an eight-hour work day, Thiam could sit, stand, and walk for only one hour each. Furthermore, in an eight-hour work day, Thiam would need to take one additional break per hour, and could never squat, crawl, or climb (AR 364-71).

         C. ...


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