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Karpinski v. Berryhill

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

October 30, 2017

GEORGE KARPINSKI, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

          J. Richard Creatura, United States 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. 6; Consent to Proceed Before a United States Magistrate Judge, Dkt. 7). This matter has been fully briefed. See Dkts. 14, 15, 16.

         After considering and reviewing the record, the Court concludes the ALJ provided a specific and legitimate reason supported by substantial evidence for discounting the medical opinions of Theodore Braun, M.D. and Mark Magdaleno, M.D. The Court also concludes that the ALJ provided at least one specific, cogent reason supported by substantial evidence to discount plaintiff's complaints regarding his physical limitations. Therefore, this matter should be affirmed pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, GEORGE KARPINSKI, was born in 1960 and was 48 years old on the alleged date of disability onset of February 1, 2009. See AR. 351-52. Plaintiff completed high school and started college, but did not finish. AR. 107. Plaintiff has work experience as a sales engineer, technician, consultant and manager in telecommunications. AR. 406-412. He last worked in an IT position, but was terminated after twice falling asleep on the job. AR. 100.

         According to the ALJ, through the date last insured, plaintiff has at least the severe impairments of “degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, affective disorder, anxiety disorder and somatoform disorder (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).” AR. 19.

         At the time of the hearing, plaintiff was living with his wife and mother in a house rented to his mother. AR. 97, 99, 105.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff's application for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423 (Title II) of the Social Security Act was denied initially and following reconsideration. See AR. 161, 175. Plaintiff's requested hearings were held before Administrative Law Judge Kimberly Boyce (“the ALJ”) on June 16, 2014 (see AR. 85-115); December 31, 2014 (see AR. 116-29), and June 24, 2015 (see AR. 130-39). On August 13, 2015, the ALJ issued a written decision in which the ALJ concluded that plaintiff was not disabled pursuant to the Social Security Act. See AR.13-37.

         In plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following issues: (1) The ALJ erred in her weighing of the medical opinion evidence; and (2) The ALJ erred in her credibility assessment. See Dkt. 14, p. 1.

         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 the ALJ erred in her treatment of the ...


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