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Endicott v. Commissioner, Social Security Administration

United States District Court, D. Oregon

March 9, 2017

TIMOTHY ENDICOTT, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          BRUCE W. BREWER Attorney for Plaintiff

          BILLY J. WILLIAMS JANICE E. HEBERT JORDAN D. GODDARD Attorneys for Defendant

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Malcolm F. Marsh United States District Judge

         Plaintiff, Timothy Endicott, brings this action for judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the "Commissioner") denying Plaintiffs application for supplemental security income ("SSI") under title XVI of the Social Security Act (the "Act"). This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). For the reasons that follow, the final decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On October 31, 2011, Plaintiff filed an application for SSI alleging disability beginning May 1, 2005. Tr. 137-45. Plaintiff alleged disability due to severe depression, severe anxiety attacks, crushed/cracked vertebrae, high blood pressure, a torn rotator cuff, and luekoplakia in his throat. Tr. 137-45, 178, Plaintiffs application was denied initially and upon reconsideration, and Plaintiff requested a hearing. Tr. 65-76, 78-90.

         On November 18, 2013, a hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") James W. Sherry. Tr. 33-64. On December 20, 2013, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled within the meaning of the Act. Tr. 10-32.

         Plaintiff requested review of the ALJ's decision, which the Appeals Council denied on May 12, 2015. Tr. 1-7. Accordingly, the ALJ's December 20, 2013, decision became the final decision of the Commissioner.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Born in 1960, Plaintiff was 51 years old when he filed his application for SSI disability benefits, and 53 years old on the date of the ALJ's decision. Tr, 137. Plaintiff dropped out of high school after completing the eleventh grade and did not earn a high school equivalence degree, but he later attended college for two years. Tr. 42, 179. Plaintiff was self-employed as a singer and bass player in a band for 30 years, but he has no "past relevant work, " as defined by the Commissioner's regulations at 20 C.F.R. § 416.965. Tr. 26, 179.

         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. Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 141-142; Tackett, 180 F.3d at 1098.

         At step one, the Commissioner found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 31, 2011, the application date. Tr. 15.

         At step two, the ALJ found Plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments: multilevel lumbar degenerative disc disease, retrolisthesis, multilevel facet degeneration; pancreatitis; diffuse liver steatosis; alcoholic hepatitis; hypertension; plantar fasciitis; alcoholism with alcohol ...


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