United States District Court, D. Oregon
LARRY P. BOWEN, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.
MANNING Harder Wells Baron & Manning, Attorney for
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney District of Oregon RENATA
GOWIE Assistant United States Attorney
TALU Social Security Administration Office of the General
Counsel Attorneys for Defendant
OPINION AND ORDER
Malcolm F. Marsh United States District Judge
Larry P. Bowen seeks judicial review of the final decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security denying his application
for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits
("DIB") under Title II of the Social Security Act,
42 U.S.C. §§ 401-403. This Court has jurisdiction
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). For the reasons that
follow, the Court affirms the Commissioner's decision.
AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
protectively filed his DIB application on October 10, 2013,
alleging disability beginning October 4, 2013, due to
obesity, left shoulder impingement/strain status
post-surgery; post-traumatic stress disorder
("PTSD"); and degenerative disc disease of the
cervical and lumbar spine. Tr. Soc. Sec. Admin. R.
("Tr.") at 53, ECF No. 8. Plaintiffs claim was
denied initially and upon reconsideration. Plaintiff filed a
request for a hearing before an administrative law judge
("ALJ"). The ALJ held a hearing on October 7, 2015,
at which Plaintiff appeared with his attorney and testified.
A vocational expert, Francene M. Geers, also appeared at the
hearing and testified. On November 9, 2015, the ALJ issued an
unfavorable decision. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiffs
request for review, and therefore, the ALJ's decision
became the final decision of the Commissioner for purposes of
suffered an on-the-job injury to his left shoulder in March
2012. Tr. 624. Plaintiff experienced pain and swelling, with
a suspected rotator cuff tear. Tr. 625. Physical therapy did
not improve Plaintiffs condition, and he underwent left
shoulder arthroscopy in July 2012. Tr. 625. During surgery,
Plaintiff was discovered to have significant fraying at the
biceps tendon attachment and tendon tearing, with
degenerative changes. Tr. 625. Following surgery, Plaintiff
returned to physical therapy and was prescribed narcotic
medication for pain. Tr. 625. In September 2012, Plaintiff
experienced an abrupt onset of pain and inflammation
following an aggressive physical therapy session. Tr. 625. A
CT scan showed possible displacement of the bicep tenodesis
anchor and a second surgery was recommended. Tr. 626. In
March 2013, Plaintiff underwent a second left shoulder
arthroscopy. Tr. 626. During surgery, it was discovered the
anchor was not displaced, but the tendon was ruptured below
the attachment, which was surgically repaired. Tr. 626. In
April 2013, Plaintiff returned to physical therapy and was
noted to have arthritic shoulder changes and his bicep was
believed to be stabilized. Tr. 626. In May 2013, Plaintiff
reported significant improvement and was released to return
to work with a ten pound restriction on the left. Tr. 626. In
June 2013, Plaintiff complained of left arm swelling and
inflammation. Tr. 626. In August 2013, Plaintiff was
performing light duty desk work, doing home exercises, and
taking Cymbalta and Aleve for pain control. Tr. 626.
was born in 1961, and was 52 years old on the alleged onset
of disability date. Plaintiff completed high school and one
year of college. Tr. 181. He served in the United States Army
from 1978 to 2000, and was honorably discharged. Tr. 162.
Plaintiff earned an Oregon State Police Certificate, and has
past relevant work as a state trooper, corrections officer,
and fish and game warden. Tr. 40, 59, 191.
AL.FS DISABILITY ANALYSIS
Commissioner has established a five-step sequential process
for determining whether a person is disabled. Bowenv.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 140 (1987); 20 C.F.R.
§404.1520. Each step is potentially dispositive. The
claimant bears the burden of proof at steps one through four.
See Valentine v. Commissioner Soc, Sec.
Admin., 574 F.3d 685, 689 (9th Cir. 2009); Tackett
v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999). At step
five, the burden shifts to the Commissioner to show that the
claimant can do other work that exists in the national
economy. Hill v. Astrue, 698 F.3d 1153, 1161 (9th
found that Plaintiff meets the insured status requirements
through December 31, 2018. At step one, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since October 4, 2013, the alleged onset date. At step two,
the ALJ found that Plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: left shoulder impingement/strain status
post-surgery; PTSD; and degenerative disc disease of the
cervical and lumbar spine. Tr. 53. At step three, the ALJ
found that Plaintiffs impairments, or combination of
impairments, did not meet or medically equal a listed
assessed Plaintiff with a residual functional capacity
("RFC") to perform light work as defined as:
lifting and/or carrying up to twenty pounds occasionally and
ten pounds frequently with both arms; pushing/pulling up to
ten pounds occasionally and five pounds frequently with the
dominant left hand; and sitting, standing, and walking up to
six hours each in an eight hour work day. He is further
limited to occasional reaching overhead and in all directions
with the bilateral upper extremities. He can have occasional
exposure to extreme cold and vibrations. [Plaintiff] is able
to frequently climb ramps and stairs, but he can occasionally
climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. He is also able to
occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. He can have
only occasional public contact.
four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is unable to perform his
past relevant work. At step five, the ALJ concluded that
considering Plaintiffs age, education, work experience, and
residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that he can
perform. The ALJ identified such representative occupations
as marker, and bakery line worker.
the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff has not been under a
disability under the Social Security Act from October 4, 2013
through the date of the decision.