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Jayne Denise Munzo v. Michael J. Astrue

November 21, 2012

JAYNE DENISE MUNZO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary L. Sharpe Chief Judge

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Jayne Denise Munzo challenges defendant Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), seeking review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).*fn1 (See Compl., Dkt. No. 1.) After reviewing the administrative record and carefully considering Munzo's arguments, the Commissioner's decision is reversed and remanded.

II. Background

On December 2, 2008, Munzo who suffers from, among other things, lower back pain and affective disorder, filed an application for SSI under the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability since March 1, 2001. (See Tr.*fn2 at 15, 109-13.) After her application was denied, (see id. at 46-51), Munzo requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which was held on June 23, 2010. (See id. at 22-42, 52-54.) On July 28, 2010, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision denying the requested benefits, which became the Commissioner's final determination upon the Social Security Administration Appeals Council's denial of review. (See id. at 1-4, 10-21.)

Munzo commenced the present action by filing her Complaint on August 18, 2011 wherein she sought review of the Commissioner's determination. (See generally Compl.) The Commissioner filed an answer and a certified copy of the administrative transcript. (See Dkt. Nos. 6, 8.) Each party, seeking judgment on the pleadings, filed a brief. (See Dkt. Nos.11, 15.)

III. Contentions

Munzo contends that the Commissioner's decision is tainted by errors of law. (See Dkt. No. 11 at 11-24.) Specifically, Munzo claims that the ALJ: (1) erred by failing to find that listings 12.04 and/or 12.06 were met;

(2) improperly weighed the medical evidence; (3) erred in evaluating her credibility; and (4) incorrectly relied upon the Medical-Vocational Guidelines. (See id.) The Commissioner counters that the appropriate legal standards were used by the ALJ and his decision is also supported by substantial evidence. (See Dkt. No. 15 at 10-21.)

IV. Facts

The court adopts the parties' undisputed factual recitations. (See id. at 1-7; Dkt. No. 11 at 1-10.)

V. Standard of Review

The standard for reviewing the Commissioner's final decision under

42 U.S.C. § 405(g)*fn3 is well established and will not be repeated here. For a full discussion of the standard and the five-step process by which the Commissioner evaluates whether a claimant is disabled under the Act, the court refers the parties to its previous decision in Christiana v. Comm'r of Soc. ...


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