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Phillippe v. Colvin

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

May 13, 2015

BRIAN LEE PHILLIPPE, 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, Dkt. 3; Consent to Proceed Before a United States Magistrate Judge, Dkt. 4). This matter has been fully briefed ( see Dkt. 10, 12, 13).

After considering and reviewing the record, the Court concludes that the ALJ did not err in failing to properly determine plaintiff's severe impairments because plaintiff did not establish his eye blurriness to be a medically determinable impairment. Further, the ALJ provided clear and convincing reasons for discounting plaintiff's testimony. The ALJ did not err then in assessing plaintiff's RFC. Therefore, this matter is affirmed pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, BRIAN LEE PHILLIPPE, was born in 1964 and was 45 years old on the alleged date of disability onset of January 20, 2010 ( see AR. 191-97). Plaintiff dropped out of high school, but did obtain his GED (AR. 49). He has work experience as a carpenter but has not worked since he was injured on the job (AR. 43-48, 256-71).

According to the ALJ, plaintiff has at least the severe impairments of "right knee arthrofibrosis, status post anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction; hypertension; elevated body mass index; major depression, moderate, untreated; and alcohol abuse (20 CFR 404.1520(c))" (AR. 23).

At the time of the hearing, plaintiff was divorced and living with his 22-year-old son in a mobile home (AR. 52-53).

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 AR. 90-102, 104-17). Plaintiff's requested hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Michael C. Blanton ("the ALJ") on May 16, 2013 ( see AR. 39-88). On May 24, 2013, the ALJ issued a written decision in which the ALJ concluded that plaintiff was not disabled pursuant to the Social Security Act ( see AR. 18-37).

In plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following issues: (1) Did the Commissioner err by failing to properly determine the severe impairments; (2) Did the Commissioner err in determining plaintiff's credibility; and (3) Did the Commissioner err in determining plaintiff's RFC ( see Dkt. 10, 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) Did the Commissioner err by failing to properly determine the ...


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