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Renggli v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

December 1, 2014

JAMES C. RENGGLI, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant

For James C Renggli, Plaintiff: Paul Ralph Kosewski, LEAD ATTORNEY, Paul Kosewski Law Office, Spokane Valley, WA.

For Carolyn W Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant: Pamela Jean DeRusha, LEAD ATTORNEY, U S Attorney's Office - SPO, Spokane, WA; Richard A Morris, Social Security Administration - SEA, Seattle, WA.

DECISION AND ORDER

VICTOR E. BIANCHINI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

I. INTRODUCTION

In January of 2011, Plaintiff James C. Renggli applied for Disability Insurance Benefits (" DIB") under the Social Security Act. The Commissioner of Social Security denied the application.

Plaintiff, represented by Paul Ralph Kosewski, Esq., 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. 4).

On September 2, 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. 12).

II. BACKGROUND

The procedural history may be summarized as follows:

On January 17, 2011, Plaintiff applied for DIB, alleging disability beginning January 1, 2010. (T at 196-97).[1] The application was denied initially and on reconsideration and Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (" ALJ"). On July 24, 2012, a hearing was held before ALJ Marie Palachuk. (T at 28). Plaintiff appeared with an attorney and testified. (T at 76-92). The ALJ also received testimony from two medical experts, Dr. Jeremy Landow (T 33-70) and Dr. Jay Toews (T at 70-76), and Jinne Lawson, a vocational expert. (T at 96-110), as well as Karen Ann Renggli, Plaintiff's wife. (T at 92-96).

On September 14, 2012, the ALJ issued a written decision denying the application for benefits and finding that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. (T at 8-27). The ALJ's decision became the Commissioner's final decision on November 22, 2013, when the Social Security Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (T at 1-6).

On January 21, 2014, 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. 1). The Commissioner interposed an Answer on April 11, 2014. (Docket No. 7).

Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on August 11, 2014. (Docket No. 11). The Commissioner moved for summary judgment on October 13, 2014. (Docket No. 16). Plaintiff filed a reply memorandum of law on November 13, 2014. (Docket No. 17).

For the reasons set forth below, the Commissioner's motion is granted, Plaintiff's motion is denied, and this case is closed.

III. DISCUSSION

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. § § 423(d) ...


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