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Smith v. Colvin

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

September 4, 2014

DONNA M. SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

J. RICHARD CREATURA, Magistrate Judge.

This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Fed.R.Civ.P. 73 and Local Magistrate Judge Rule MJR 13 ( see also Notice of Initial Assignment to a U.S. Magistrate Judge and Consent Form, ECF No. 3; Consent to Proceed Before a United States Magistrate Judge, ECF No. 4). This matter has been fully briefed ( see ECF Nos. 12, 13, 14).

After considering and reviewing the record, the Court finds that the ALJ did not err in his step two and step three findings. Similarly, the ALJ did not err in his residual functional capacity determination. Therefore, this matter is affirmed pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, DONNA M. SMITH, was born in 1966 and was 36 years old on the alleged date of disability onset of February 16, 2003 ( see Tr. 196-97). Plaintiff has completed two years of college (Tr. 70). Plaintiff has work experience as a human resources assistant, collections assistant, and data entry operator (Tr. 231-34). She believes she lost her last job due to her depression (Tr. 83).

According to the ALJ, plaintiff has at least the severe impairments of "obesity, degenerative disc disease, migraines, and major depressive disorder (20 CFR 404.1520(c))" (Tr. 35).

At the time of the hearing, plaintiff was living with her husband and two children (Tr. 66, 72).

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff's application for disability insurance ("DIB") benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423 (Title II) of the Social Security Act was denied initially and following reconsideration ( see Tr. 119-29, 130-32). Plaintiff's requested hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Scott R. Morris ("the ALJ") on October 29, 2012 ( see Tr. 57-105). On November 28, 2012, the ALJ issued a written decision in which the ALJ concluded that plaintiff was not disabled pursuant to the Social Security Act ( see Tr. 30-56).

In plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following issues: (1) Whether or not the Commissioner erred in determining that plaintiff's chronic carpal tunnel syndrome was not a severe health impairment; (2) Whether or not the Commissioner erred in determining that plaintiff did not meet or equal any of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, subpart P, Appendix 1§§ 1.04 and 12.04; and (3) Whether or not the Commissioner erred in determining plaintiff's residual functional capacity ( see ECF No. 12, p. 2).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court may set aside the Commissioner's denial of social security benefits if the ALJ's findings are based on legal error or not supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Bayliss v. Barnhart, 427 F.3d 1211, 1214 n.1 (9th Cir. 2005) ( citing Tidwell v. Apfel, 161 F.3d 599, 601 (9th Cir. 1999)).

DISCUSSION

(1) Whether or not the Commissioner erred in determining that plaintiff's chronic carpal tunnel syndrome was ...


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