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Simmonds v. Colvin

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa

July 19, 2013

GRAMN L. SIMMONDS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant

Page 1061

For Gramn L Simmonds, Plaintiff: David A Scott, LEAD ATTORNEY, Cornwall Avery Bjornstad Scott, Spencer, IA.

For Commissioner of Social Security, agent of Michael J Astrue, agent of Carolyn W Colvin, Defendant: Stephanie Johnson Wright, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, IA.

OPINION

Page 1062

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

LEONARD T. STRAND, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

Introduction

Plaintiff Gramn Simmonds seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the Commissioner) denying his application for disability insurance benefits (DIB) and supplemental security income (SSI) pursuant to Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. 42 U.S.C. § § 405(g), 1383(c)(3). Simmonds contends the administrative record (AR) does not contain substantial evidence to support the Commissioner's decision tat

Page 1063

he is not disabled. For the reasons discussed below, the decision must be affirmed.

Background

Simmonds was born in 1978 and has a GED. He has past relevant work as a bartender, cashier, CNA, factory worker, hydraulic tester, material handler and stocker. AR 389. Simmonds protectively filed for DIB and SSI on March 12, 2009, alleging disability beginning on June 15, 2006, due to bi-polar manic depressive disorder, Tourette's syndrome and anxiety disorder. AR 278, 283. His claims were denied initially and on reconsideration. AR 58-61. Simmonds requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). AR 79-80. On December 2, 2010, ALJ Robert Maxwell held a hearing via video conference during which Simmonds and a vocational expert (VE) testified. AR 19-57.

On December 22, 2010, the ALJ issued a decision finding Simmonds not disabled since June 15, 2006. AR 9-18. Simmonds sought review of this decision by the Appeals Council, which denied review on May 30, 2012. AR 1-3. The ALJ's decision thus became the final decision of the Commissioner. 20 C.F.R. § § 404.981, 416.1481.

On July 27, 2012, Simmonds filed a complaint in this court seeking review of the ALJ's decision. On October 18, 2012, with the parties' consent, United States District Judge Mark W. Bennett transferred the case to me for final disposition and entry of judgment. The parties have briefed the issues and the matter is now fully submitted.

Summary of ALJ's Decision

The ALJ made the following findings:

(1) The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through March 31, 2014.
(2) The claimant has engaged in substantial gainful activity (hereinafter SGA) during various timeframes since June 15, 2006, the alleged disability onset date, up to the date of this decision. Specifically he performed SGA from August 1, 2006, through October 14, 2006, and from September, not the first, 2008, through January 16, 2009, as discussed below (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq. ).
(3) The claimant has the following severe impairments: a diagnosed bipolar disorder, generally under adequate control with medications (Exhibits 1F, 2F, 6F, 11F); an obsessive compulsive disorder, generally controlled with Klonopin and addressed with counseling (Exhibit 12F); and a more recently diagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity[ ] disorder, primarily inattentive, treated with Vyvanse and then Adderall (Exhibits 6F, pages 3 and 4, and 1F) (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
(4) The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (Exhibits 1A-4A). (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
(5) After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels, but with the following non-exertional limitations. The claimant experiences moderate limitations in carrying out and maintaining concentration, persistence, and pace in

Page 1064

the performance of detailed tasks; moderate limitations in responding appropriately to instructions and criticisms from supervisors as well as changes in the work setting; moderate limitations in working around others and interacting with the public; and moderate limitations in completing a normal workday and workweek. Within this degree of limitation, the claimant retains the functional capacity to perform simple work with no need for special supervision. The claimant can do simple work with no need for special supervision. He would have no problem performing said work within a schedule and requiring attendance and punctuality. In sum, the claimant can perform simple, routine tasks on a regular and sustained full-time basis not requiring more than brief and superficial contacts with others. As such, the undersigned does fully agree with the conclusions of the state agency physicians as to the degree of functional limitation experienced by the claimant resulting from his mental impairments (Exhibits 3F, 4F, and 7F). (SSR 96-6p) Testimony of the claimant was not fully credible for reasons set forth below and above under Finding 2.
(6) The claimant is unable to perform any of his past relevant work (Exhibits 23D, 2E, 3E, 5E, pages 3 and 4, and 19E) (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
(7) The claimant was born on September 30, 1978, and was 27 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability ...

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