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Michael Murawski v. Michael J. Astrue

March 29, 2011

MICHAEL MURAWSKI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Electronically Filed

I.Introduction

Plaintiff, Michael Murawski ("Plaintiff") brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of the Social Security Act (the "Act"), seeking judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying his application for supplemental security income ("SSI"). The parties have submitted cross motions for summary judgment on the record developed at the administrative proceedings. For the following reasons, Plaintiff‟s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 9) will be denied. The Commissioner‟s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 7) will be granted and the administrative decision of the Commissioner will be affirmed.

II.Procedural History

Murawski protectively filed for disability benefits on March 12, 2008, alleging disability as of December 15, 2005. R. 102-05. The applications were denied by the state agency on June 30, 2008. R. 60-61. Murawski responded on June 24, 2008, by filing a timely request for an administrative hearing. R. 76. On September 22, 2009, an administrative hearing was held in Morgantown, West Virginia, before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") George Mills. R. 20-59. Murawski, who was represented by counsel, appeared and testified. R. 25-53. James Ganoe, an impartial vocational expert ("VE"), also testified. R. 53-58.

In a decision dated November 5, 2009, the ALJ determined that Murawski was not "disabled" within the meaning of the Act. R. 8-16. The Appeals Council denied Murawski‟s request for review on September 11, 2010, thereby making the ALJ‟s decision the final decision of the Commissioner in this case. R. 1-3.

Murawski commenced the present action on November 4, 2010, seeking judicial review of the Commissioner‟s decision. Doc. No. 1. Murawski and the Commissioner filed cross-motions for summary judgment on March 21, 2011. Doc. Nos. 7 & 9. These motions are the subject of this memorandum opinion.

III.Statement of the Case

In his decision, the ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant met the insured status requirements of the Act through December 31, 2009.

2. The claimant had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since December 15, 2009, the alleged onset date. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1571 et seq. and 416.971 et seq.

3. The claimant had the following severe impairments: Crohn‟s disease; status post left cubital tunnel release; status post right carpal tunnel syndrome release; renal cysts; major depressive disorder; borderline personality disorder; and alcohol abuse. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c).

4. The claimant did 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. ยงยง 404.1520(d), ...


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