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Bartley v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Oregon

July 14, 2014

ROY BARTLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

JAMES A. REDDEN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Roy Bartley ("Bartley") brings this action to obtain judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("Commissioner") ending Plaintiff's receipt of Disability Insurance Benefits. For the reasons set forth below, the decision of the Commissioner is affirmed and this matter is dismissed.

BACKGROUND

Born in 1962, Bartley had an accident in 2002 in which he fell from a platform and received a head injury. He was awarded disability benefits in 2004 for a neurological disorder and somatoform disorder that resulted in paresis of his left leg and paretic posturing of his left arm, precluding him from even sedentary work. Tr. 19. In December 2010 a Disability Hearing Officer for the Commissioner found that Plaintiff's conditions had improved and his disability ended in July 2010. Tr. 79-102. The determination was affirmed upon reconsideration. After a September 2011 hearing, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") affirmed the determination. Bartley's request for review was denied, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.

ALJ's DECISION

The ALJ must evaluate whether a claimant continues to be disabled using an eight-step sequential process. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1594. At step one, the ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity during his period of disability. Tr. 18. At step two, the ALJ found Plaintiff's medically determinable impairments of anxiety disorder, seizure disorder, and mood disorder, did not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment. Id.

At step three, the ALJ found that medical improvement occurred as of July 2010, and Plaintiff no longer had the neurological impairment or somatoform disorders that were the basis for the 2004 disability award. Tr. 19. At step four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's medical improvement was related to his ability to work. Tr. 20. Because the ALJ found Plaintiff's medical improvement was related to his ability to work, the ALJ proceeded directly to the sixth step. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1594(f)(4).

At step six, the ALJ found that, as of July 2010, Plaintiff continued to have severe impairments. Tr. 21.

The ALJ determined that Bartley retained the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform a limited range of light work, except he can lift and carry twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently, he can sit, stand and walk for six out of eight hours each, he should have no contact with the public, he can have occasional interaction with co-workers, and he should not climb, balance or work at heights, including ladders and scaffolds.

At step seven, the ALJ found Bartley was unable to perform his past relevant work as an iron worker, construction worker, laborer, auto body mechanic, irrigation worker, or diesel mechanic as these jobs required medium to heavy exertion. The ALJ found Bartley retained the ability to perform other work, including assembly production, cleaner/polisher, and dowel inspector. Tr. 26. Accordingly, the ALJ found Plaintiff's disability ended as of July 2010.

The medical records accurately set out Bartley's medical history as it relates to his claim for benefits. The court has carefully reviewed the medical record, and the parties are familiar with it. Accordingly, the details of those medical records will be set out below only as they are relevant to the issues before the court.

DISCUSSION

Bartley contends that the ALJ erred by: (1) improperly assessing his cognitive impairments; and (2) improperly ...


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