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Sean Skeen v. Michael J. Astrue

September 19, 2012

SEAN SKEEN, PETITIONER,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE,COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Mikel H. Williams United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Currently pending before the Court for its consideration is PetitionerSean Skeen's ("Petitioner") Petition for Review of the Respondent's denial of social security benefits, filed March 28, 2011. Petition, Dkt. 1. The Court has reviewed the Petition for Review and the Answer, the parties' memorandums, and the administrative record ("AR"). For the reasons that follow, the Court will affirm the decision of the Commissioner.

I.

Procedural and Factual History Petitioner filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income on October 26, 2006, alleging disability due to Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome ("CVS"). Petitioner's application was denied initially and on reconsideration, and a request for a hearing was timely filed.

Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") R.S. Chester held a hearing on June 5, 2008, taking testimony from Petitioner and a vocational expert. (AR 19-53.) ALJ Chester issued a decision finding Petitioner not disabled on July 8, 2008. (AR 12-18.) Petitioner filed a timely appeal to the Appeals Council which denied his request for review, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. (AR 1-4.) Petitioner appealed this final decision to this Court in Case No. 2:09-cv-00197-LMB. Before filing of the administrative record or briefing occurred, and based on the stipulation of the parties, Magistrate Judge Larry M. Boyle entered an order remanding for further proceedings and directing the ALJ to find at step two of the sequential evaluation process that cyclical vomiting syndrome was a medically determinable impairment and to continue with the sequential evaluation process. (AR 308-310.)

The ALJ again held a hearing on January 26, 2010, taking testimony from Sergio Bello, M.D., an impartial medical expert, and Diane Kramer, an impartial vocational expert, and another hearing on March 5, 2010, taking testimony from Petitioner. (AR 266-286 and 287-307.) ALJ Chester issued a decision finding Petitioner not disabled on March 12, 2010. (AR 237-244.)

Petitioner filed a timely appeal to the Appeals Council which denied his request for review, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. (AR 1-3.) Petitioner appealed this final decision to this Court. The Court has jurisdiction to review the ALJ's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

At the time of the hearing, Petitioner was 38 years old. He has a twelfth grade education, has completed a CNA program,and his past relevant work includes cashier, certified nurse's assistant, press operator, industrial cleaner, customer service representative, roll tender, and cable installer.

II.

Sequential Process The Commissioner follows a five-step sequential evaluation for determining whether a claimant is disabled. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920. The claimant has the burden of proving a disability in the first four steps of the sequential evaluation after which the burden moves to the Commissioner at the fifth step. Burch v. Barnhart, 400 F.3d 676, 679 (9th Cir. 2005).

At step one, it must be determined whether the claimant is engaged in substantial gainful activity. The ALJ found Petitioner had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since his alleged onset date of September 23, 2006. (AR 239.)

At step two, it must be determined whether claimant suffers from a severe impairment. The ALJ found that Petitioner's cyclic vomiting and degenerative disc disease impairments are "severe" within the meaning of the Regulations. (AR 240.)

Step three asks whether a claimant's impairments meet or equal a listed impairment. The ALJ found that Petitioner did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or equals the criteria for the listed impairments. (AR 240.) If a claimant's impairments or combination of impairments do not meet or equal a listing, the Commissioner must assess the residual functional capacity ("RFC") and determine at step four whether the claimant has demonstrated an inability to perform past relevant work.

At step four, the ALJ found Petitioner was able to perform the full range of medium work and his past relevant work as a CNA, press operator, industrial cleaner, customer service representative, cashier, cable installer as ...


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