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Desantis v. Commissioner Social Security Administration

United States District Court, D. Oregon

September 5, 2014

CARMA L. DESANTIS, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.

ROBYN M. REBERS, Wilsonville, Oregon Attorney for Plaintiff

S. AMANDA MARSHALL, United States Attorney, ADRIAN L. BROWN, Assistant United States Attorney, Portland, Oregon

JOHN C. LAMONT, Social Security Administration, Office of the General Counsel Seattle, Washington Attorneys for Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

MALCOLM F. MARSH, District Judge.

Plaintiff, Carma L. Desantis, brings this action for judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the Commissioner) denying her application for supplemental security income (SSI) disability benefits under Title XVI of the Act. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434, 1381-1383f. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). For the reasons set forth below, I affirm the final decision of the Commissioner.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff protectively filed the instant application for SST on December 8, 2009, alleging disability due to fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bronchitis, acid reflux, and "sleep problems." Tr. 167. Plaintiff's claim was denied initially and upon reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) presided over a hearing on February 22, 2012, at which Plaintiff testified and was represented by counsel. Tr. 25-57. On February 29, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision denying Plaintiff's claim. The Appeals Council declined review and Plaintiff. timely appealed to this Court.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Born on October 20, 1965, Plaintiff was 36 years old on the alleged onset date of disability and 46 years old on the date of the hearing. Tr. 163. Plaintiff has a 10th grade education and no past relevant work. Tr. 19, 168. Plaintiff alleges her conditions became disabling on May 1, 2002. Tr. 163.

In addition to her hearing testimony, Plaintiff submitted an Adult Function Report. Tr. 186-93. Plaintiff's husband, Samuel Robert Desantis, submitted a Third Party Function Report. Tr. 177-84. On March 13, 2010, Patrick Radecki, M.D., conducted a physical examination and submitted an opinion as to Plaintiff's physical impairments. Tr. 237-42. On. July 17, 2010, Robert A. Kruger, Psy.D., conducted a psychological evaluation and submitted an opinion as to Plaintiff's mental impairments. Tr. 269-73. On April 2, 2010, J. Scott Pritchard, D.O., reviewed Plaintiff's medical records and submitted an opinion as to Plaintiff's physical residual functional capacity. Tr. 62-63. On August 9, 2010, Neal. E. Berner, M.D., reviewed Plaintiff's records and submitted an opinion as to Plaintiff's physical. limitations. Tr. 75-76. Finally, on August 3, 2010, Dorothy Anderson, Ph.D., reviewed the medical record and submitted an opinion as to Plaintiff's mental limitations. Tr. 73-74.

THE ALJ'S DISABILITY ANALYSIS

The Commissioner has established a five-step sequential process for determining whether a person is disabled. Bowen v. Yuckert , 482 U.S. 137, 140-42 (1987); 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4)(i)(v). Each step is potentially dispositive. The claimant bears the burden of proof at Steps One through Four. Tackett v. Apfel , 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999). The burden shifts to the Commissioner at Step Five to show that a significant number of jobs exist in the national economy that the claimant can perform. See Yuckert , 482 U.S. at 141-42; Tackett , 180 F.3d at 1098.

At Step One, the ALJ determined Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the application date, December 8, 2009. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 416.920(b), 416.971 et seq.; Tr. 13. At Step Two, the ALJ determined Plaintiff's chronic bronchitis is a severe impairment. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(c); Tr. 13-15.

At Step Three, the ALJ determined Plaintiff does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meet or medically equal' any listed impairment. See 20 ...


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