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Bradd M. v. Commissioner, Social Security Administration

United States District Court, D. Oregon

January 8, 2019

BRADD M.[1], Plaintiff,
v.
Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          GEORGE J. WALL, Attorney for Plaintiff.

          BILLY J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney RENATA GOWIE Assistant United States Attorney MICHAEL W. PILE Acting Regional Chief Counsel HEATHER L. GRIFFITH Special Assistant United States Attorney Social Security Administration Attorneys for Defendant

          OPINION AND ORDER

          ANNA J. BROWN, UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Bradd M. seeks judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) in which the Commissioner denied Plaintiff's applications for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) under Title II of the Social Security Act and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. This Court has jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's final decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         For the reasons that follow, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Commissioner and DISMISSES this matter.

         ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

         Plaintiff filed applications for DIB and SSI on July 1, 2014, alleging a disability onset date of May 21, 2011. Tr. 263-64.[2] The applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a hearing on March 8, 2017, and a supplemental hearing on June 1, 2017. Tr. 34-56, 57-86. At the first hearing Plaintiff and a vocational expert (VE) testified. At the second hearing Plaintiff, a VE, and a medical expert (ME) testified. Plaintiff was represented by an attorney at both hearings.

         The ALJ issued a decision on June 23, 2017, in which he found Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to benefits. Tr. 15-26. Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 404.984(d) that decision became the final decision of the Commissioner on November 16, 2017, when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. Tr. 1-6. See Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was born on April 5, 1967. Tr. 263. Plaintiff was 49 years old at the time of the first hearing and 50 years old at the time of the second hearing. Plaintiff has a high-school education and training as a Certified Nurse Assistant. Tr. 39. Plaintiff has past relevant work experience as a telemarketer, fast-food salesperson, and cashier. Tr. 25.

         Plaintiff alleges disability due to HIV, hepatitis C, degenerative disc disease of the spine and knee, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, panic disorder, and a history of alcohol abuse. Tr. 17.

         Except when noted, Plaintiff does not challenge the ALJ's summary of the medical evidence. After carefully reviewing the medical records, this Court adopts the ALJ's summary of the medical evidence. See Tr. 22-24.

         STANDARDS

         The initial burden of proof rests on the claimant to establish disability. Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1110 (9thCir. 2012). To meet this burden, a claimant must demonstrate his inability "to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which . . . has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C. ยง 423(d)(1)(A). The ALJ must develop the record when there is ambiguous evidence or when the record is inadequate to allow for proper ...


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