United States District Court, E.D. Washington
DEREK J. GIANCOLA, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant
For Derek J Giancola, Plaintiff: Joseph Linehan, LEAD ATTORNEY, Dana Madsen Law Office, Spokane, WA.
For Carolyn W Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant: Kathryn Ann Miller, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of the General Counsel, Social Security Administration, Seattle, WA; Pamela Jean DeRusha, LEAD ATTORNEY, U S Attorney's Office - SPO, Spokane, WA.
DECISION AND ORDER
VICTOR E. BIANCHINI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
In August of 2009, Plaintiff Derek J. Giancola applied for Supplemental Security Income (" SSI" ) benefits and Child's Disability Benefits  under the Social Security Act. The Commissioner of Social Security denied the applications.
Plaintiff, represented by the Dana Madsen Law Office, Joseph Linehan, Esq. and Maureen J. Rosette, Esq., of counsel, commenced this action seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's denial of benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § § 405 (g) and 1383 (c)(3). The parties consented to the jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge. (Docket No. 6).
On January 3, 2014, the Honorable Rosanna Malouf Peterson, Chief United States District Judge, referred this case to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B). (Docket No. 24).
The procedural history may be summarized as follows:
On August 31, 2009, Plaintiff applied for SSI benefits and child's insurance benefits, alleging disability beginning October 1, 1999. (T at 168-77). The applications were denied initially and Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (" ALJ" ). On April 14, 2011, a hearing was held before ALJ Caroline Siderius. (T at 45). Plaintiff appeared with an attorney and testified. (T at 59-66). The ALJ also received testimony from Dr. Samuel Landau, a medical expert. (T at 51-59). A further hearing was held on July 13, 2011. (T at 68). Plaintiff appeared with his attorney and provided further testimony. (T at 76-77, 79-88). The ALJ received testimony from Dr. John Morse, a medical expert (T at 72-76, 77-79) and Diane Kramer, a vocational expert (T at 88-90).
On September 14, 2011, the ALJ issued a written decision denying the applications for benefits and finding that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. (T at 20-38). The ALJ's decision became the Commissioner's final decision on November 29, 2012, when the Social Security Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (T at 1-6).
On January 22, 2013, Plaintiff, acting by and through his counsel, timely commenced this action by filing a Complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. (Docket No. 5). The Commissioner interposed an Answer on April 1, 2013. (Docket No. 10).
Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on July 24, 2013. (Docket No. 14). The Commissioner moved for summary judgment on November 27, 2013. (Docket No. 23). Plaintiff filed a reply memorandum of law on December 9, 2013. (Docket No. 24). As noted above, the parties consented to the jurisdiction of a Magistrate Judge. (Docket No. 6).
For the reasons set forth below, the Commissioner's motion is granted, Plaintiff's motion is denied, and this case is closed.
A. Sequential Evaluation Process
The Social Security Act (" the Act" ) defines disability as the " inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months." 42 U.S.C. § § 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A). The Act also provides that a plaintiff shall be determined to be under a disability only if any impairments are of such severity that a plaintiff is not only unable to do previous work but cannot, considering plaintiff's age, education and work experiences, engage in any other substantial work which exists in the national economy. 42 U.S.C. § § ...