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Richard H. Conrad v. Michel J. Astrue

April 3, 2012

RICHARD H. CONRAD,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
DEFENDANT.



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

ELECTRONICALLY FILED MEMORANDUM OPINION RE: DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. NO. 14)

I.Introduction

Richard Conrad ("Plaintiff") brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking review of the final determination of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Defendant" or "Commissioner") denying his application for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") and supplemental security income ("SSI") under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401 -- 433, 1381 -- 1383(f) ("Act"). The Court ordered that the parties file cross-motions for summary judgment on or before March 26, 2012. Doc. No. 13. However, pro se Plaintiff has not filed a Motion for Summary Judgment as of the date of this Opinion. The record has been developed at the administrative level. For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 14) will be GRANTED.

II.Procedural History

Plaintiff filed for DIB with the Social Security Administration ("SSA") on January 18, 2008, claiming an inability to work due to disability beginning May 10, 2006. (R. at 104 110)*fn1 . Plaintiff subsequently applied for SSI on November 6, 2009. (R. at 122-125). Plaintiff was initially denied benefits on April 25, 2008. (R. at 69-72). A hearing was scheduled for January 20, 2010, and Plaintiff, represented by counsel, appeared to testify. (R. at 42 -- 66). A vocational expert also testified. (R. at 60 -- 64). The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") issued his decision denying benefits to Plaintiff on April 23, 2010. (R. at 9 -- 24). Plaintiff filed a request for review of the ALJ's decision by the Appeals Council, which denied Plaintiff's request on April 18, 2011, thereby making the decision of the ALJ the final decision of the Commissioner in this case. (R. at 1 -- 5).

Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this Court on June 24, 2011. (ECF No. 2). Defendant filed its Answer on February 7, 2012. (ECF No. 11). Cross-motions for summary judgment were scheduled; however, as previously noted, only Defendant has filed its Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 14).

III.Statement of the Case

In his decision denying DIB and SSI to Plaintiff, the ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2012;

2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 5, 2007, the alleged onset date;

3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: lumbar disc disease and status post microdiscectomy in 2005 with spinal and foraminal stenosis at L5-S1, status post motorcycle accident with subarachoid hemorrhage and traumatic brain injury, alcohol induced mood disorder, benzodiazepine abuse, ethanol dependence in early remission, bipolar I disorder, avoidant personality disorder, and mood disorder;

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. Pt. 404, Subpt. P, App'x 1;

5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except the claimant is limited to occasional walking and standing for 2 hours out of an 8 hour work day; is limited to occasional postural maneuvers such as balancing, stopping, kneeling, crouching, crawling, and climbing ramps and stairs; must be afforded the option to sit and stand during the work day, 1 to 2 minutes every hour or so; is limited to simple, routine, repetitive tasks, not performed in a fast-paced production environment, involving only simple, work-related decisions, and in general, relatively few work place changes, is limited to working primarily with objects rather than with people; is limited to ...


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