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Mondragon v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Colorado

March 28, 2016

CHRISTOPHER MONDRAGON, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

ORDER

RAYMOND P. MOORE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

This matter is before the Court on Christopher Mondragon’s (“Plaintiff”) request for judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (ECF No.1.) Plaintiff challenges the final decision of Defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (“Commissioner”), denying Plaintiff’s applications for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI, respectively, of the Social Security Act (“Act”). An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) ruled Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Act and therefore not entitled to DIB or SSI.

Defendant provided the Court with the administrative record. (ECF Nos. 13; 13-1; 13-2; 13-3; 13-4; 13-5; 13-6; 13-7; 13-8; 13-9; 13-10; 13-11.) The matter is fully briefed and ripe for adjudication. (ECF Nos. 16; 17; 18.)

For the reasons set forth below, the Court vacates the denial of Plaintiff’s applications and remands for proceedings consistent with this Order.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff applied for DIB and SSI in January 2012, alleging he was disabled as of March 21, 2010, due to the following conditions that limit his ability to work: left foot, dropped foot, left hip pain, right shoulder pain, left internal dead kidney, reconstructed stomach wall (Admin. R. (“Tr.”) 149-58, 205.) Plaintiff amended his applications to reflect an onset date of January 24, 2012, due to mental health issues. (Tr. 40-41.) After Plaintiff’s applications were initially denied (Tr. 65-88), Plaintiff requested a hearing before an ALJ (Tr. 98-99). The ALJ denied Plaintiff’s applications. (Tr. 16-35.) Plaintiff requested review of the ALJ’s decision (Tr. 14-15) and, in July 2014, the Appeals Council denied such review (Tr. 1-5). Plaintiff timely requested judicial review before the Court.

A. Background and Relevant Medical Evidence [1]

Plaintiff was born in 1987. (Tr. 149.) Plaintiff completed eleventh grade. (Tr. 206.) Plaintiff passed the GED. (Tr. 52.) Plaintiff’s past relevant work history, as referenced in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, includes: fast food cook, fast food worker, stocker, and managing stocker. (Tr. 60.)

Plaintiff claims he is disabled due to a combination of physical and mental health impairments.

1. Physical Impairments

In March 2010, Plaintiff was in a motor vehicle accident from which he suffered damaged internal organs, broken ribs, a right-shoulder fracture, a dislocated left hip, and multiple fractures of the left leg, ankle, and foot. (Tr. 249-330, 350-82, 479-540.)

In 2010, Plaintiff’s third and fourth toes on Plaintiff’s left foot were amputated. (Tr. 565.) In 2010, Plaintiff also developed a left foot drop. (Tr. 561-62.)

Also in 2010, Plaintiff completed occupational therapy to increase the functioning of his right arm. (Tr. 578-613.)

In December 2010, Plaintiff returned to work as a stocker at Wal-Mart. (Tr. 43, 189.) Plaintiff testified that he could not perform the functions of his job at Wal-Mart because of his disabilities, and he was therefore, terminated. (Tr. 43-46, 50-51.)

In March 2012, Tim Moser, M.D., provided a consultative examination of Plaintiff in relation to Plaintiff’s application for disability benefits. (Tr. 573-77.) Dr. Moser opined Plaintiff had some limitations in postural and manipulative activities; could not lift and carry more than 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently; could stand and walk for fewer than two hours in an eight-hour workday but could sit for an unlimited amount of time; and required use of a brace and cane to walk. (Tr. 577.)

Plaintiff testified that his physical pain causes him trouble with focusing and ...


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