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Pitrone v. Astrue

October 12, 2010

SHERRY L. PITRONE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Arthur J. Schwab

MEMORANDUM OPINION

I. Introduction

Plaintiff, Sherry Pitrone (hereinafter "Plaintiff"), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) of the Social Security Act ("the Act"), seeking review of the final determination of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying her application for disability insurance benefits ("DIB"). Consistent with the customary practice in the Western District of Pennsylvania, the parties have submitted cross motions for summary judgment on the record developed at the administrative proceedings. After careful consideration of the Administrative Law Judge's ("ALJ") decision, the memoranda of the parties, and the entire record, the Court will grant the Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment and deny Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment.

II. Procedural History

Plaintiff filed an application for DIB on July 9, 2007, alleging disability beginning on March 1, 1998. R. at 97-104. Plaintiff's claim was denied on October 12, 2007 and she thereafter requested a hearing. R. at 49-52, 55-56. The hearing was held on August 21, 2009 before ALJ Donald Graffius. R. at 18-46. Plaintiff, appearing with her attorney, Teresa Rerko, testified at the hearing along plaintiff's husband, Richard Pitrone and the vocational expert, Dr. Joseph Bentivania. Id.

The ALJ issued a decision on September 2, 2009, finding that Plaintiff was not disabled. R. at 10-16. The ALJ found that Plaintiff was capable of performing a full range of work at all exertional levels but with non-exertional limitations. Id. The ALJ found that plaintiff could perform her past relevant work as a baker's helper. Id. Additionally, the ALJ found that Plaintiff could perform other jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy such as collator, assembler, candy inspector and ticket printer. Id. On April 9, 2010, the Appeals Council affirmed the ALJ's decision, thus becoming the final decision of the Commissioner. R. at 1-5. Plaintiff then filed her complaint herein seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision.

III. Statement of the Case

In the decision dated September 2, 2009, the ALJ made the following specific findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2012.

2. The claimant has not engaged in "substantial gainful activity" since March 1, 1998, the alleged onset date (20 C.F.R. 404.1520 (b), 404.1571 et seq).

3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: bilateral moderately severe to severe mixed hearing loss (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(c)).

4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R.404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).

5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following non-exertional limitations: the claimant is limited to occupations which do not require bilateral or fine hearing capability, frequent telephone communications, or a need to converse over excessive background noise.

6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a baker's helper. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's ...


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