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Rosenbaum v. Saul

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

September 24, 2019

JOSEPH J. ROSENBAUM, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION COMMISSIONER

          HELEN GILLMOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case involves the appeal by Plaintiff Joseph J. Rosenbaum of the Social Security Administration Commissioner’s denial of Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income.

         Plaintiff was born in January 1971. Plaintiff claims to have been disabled since January 2, 2008, when he was 36 years old. Plaintiff asserts that he is disabled due to both physical and mental impairments. Plaintiff has the following impairments: diabetes, joint disease, hip replacement, depression, bipolar disorder, a personality disorder, and a substance abuse disorder.

         Plaintiff first submitted applications for Social Security benefits on April 3, 2008.

         Following the initial denial of his applications and a denial of reconsideration, Plaintiff had a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. On September 24, 2012, the Administrative Law Judge issued a written decision denying Plaintiff’s applications, which was affirmed by the Appeals Council.

         On January 27, 2014, Plaintiff sought judicial review of the agency’s denial of his applications. Pursuant to a stipulation by the parties, the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois issued an Order remanding proceedings to the agency.

         Upon remand by the Central Illinois District Court, the Appeals Council remanded proceedings to the same Administrative Law Judge to conduct a second hearing on Plaintiff’s applications.

         Following the second hearing, on December 10, 2015, the Administrative Law Judge issued a second written decision denying Plaintiff’s applications. The Appeals Council, once again, affirmed the Administrative Law Judge.

         On September 27, 2016, Plaintiff, again, sought judicial review of the agency’s decision denying his applications. Pursuant to a second stipulation by the parties, the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois issued a Second Order remanding proceedings to the agency.

         Upon the second remand by the Central District of Illinois, the Appeals Council remanded proceedings to a different Administrative Law Judge.

         Plaintiff had a third hearing before a new Administrative Law Judge on December 13, 2017.

         On March 9, 2018, Plaintiff’s applications for Social Security benefits were denied for a third time. The Appeals Council affirmed.

         Between March 9, 2018 and July 6, 2018, Plaintiff relocated from Champaign, Illinois to Mountain View, Hawaii.

         Plaintiff appealed the third denial of his request for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance benefits to this Court.

         The Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Social Security Administration Commissioner.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On April 3, 2008, Plaintiff Joseph J. Rosenbaum filed applications for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income Benefits with the Social Security Administration. (Administrative Record (“AR”) at pp. 144-53, ECF Nos. 21, 22).

         On July 30, 2008, the Social Security Administration denied Plaintiff’s initial applications. (AR at pp. 81-85).

         On October 30, 2008, the Administration denied his request for reconsideration. (AR at pp. 86-95).

         On August 12, 2010, Plaintiff filed updated applications for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income. (AR at pp. 156-66).

         On December 1, 2010, the Social Security Administration denied Plaintiff’s updated applications. (AR at pp. 96-105).

         On April 19, 2011, the Administration denied his request for reconsideration. (AR at pp. 106-09).

         On August 14, 2012, an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) conducted a hearing on Plaintiff’s applications. (AR at pp. 19-47).

         On September 24, 2012, an ALJ issued a written decision denying Plaintiff’s applications. (AR at pp. 59-73).

         Plaintiff sought review by the Appeals Council for the Social Security Administration. The Appeals Council denied further review of Plaintiff’s application on October 31, 2013, rendering the ALJ’s decision as the final administrative decision by the Commissioner of Social Security. (AR at pp. 5-11).

         On January 27, 2014, Plaintiff sought judicial review of the Commissioner of Social Security’s final decision to deny his applications for Disability Benefits and Supplemental Security Income in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (AR at pp. 832-33, 2:14-cv-02009 HAB-DGB).

         On July 15, 2014, the Central Illinois District Court issued an order entitled, “Order Granting Stipulation For Remand Under Sentence Four Of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).” (AR at pp. 834-35).

         On September 18, 2014, the Appeals Council remanded proceedings to an ALJ. (AR at pp. 842-43).

         On September 3, 2015, an ALJ conducted a second hearing on Plaintiff’s applications. (AR at pp. 781-817).

         On December 10, 2015, an ALJ issued a second written decision denying Plaintiff’s applications. (AR at pp. 749-68).

         Plaintiff sought review by the Appeals Council for the Social Security Administration. The Appeals Council denied further review of Plaintiff’s application on July 29, 2016, rendering the ALJ’s decision as the final administrative decision by the Commissioner of Social Security. (AR at pp. 742-45).

         On September 27, 2016, Plaintiff again sought judicial review of the Commissioner of Social Security’s final decision to deny his applications for Disability Benefits and Supplemental Security Income in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (AR at pp. 1573-75, 2:16-cv-02296 CSB-EIL).

         On June 8, 2017, the Central Illinois District Court issued an Order remanding proceedings to the Agency pursuant to a stipulation by the Parties. (AR at p. 1577).

         On July 17, 2017, the Appeals Council remanded proceedings to an Administrative Law Judge. (AR at pp. 1580-82).

         On December 13, 2017, an ALJ conducted a third hearing on Plaintiff’s applications. (AR at pp. 1462-1512).

         On March 9, 2018, an ALJ issued a written decision denying Plaintiff’s applications. (AR at pp. 1414-46).

         Plaintiff sought review by the Appeals Council for the Social Security Administration. The Appeals Council denied further review of Plaintiff’s application on March 9, 2018, rendering the ALJ’s decision as the final administrative decision by the Commissioner of Social Security. (AR at pp. 1411-13).

         Plaintiff then relocated from Champaign, Illinois to Mountain View, Hawaii.

         On July 6, 2018, Plaintiff sought judicial review of the Commissioner of Social Security’s final decision to deny his applications for Disability Benefits and Supplemental Security Income in this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (ECF No. 1).

         On October 8, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Extension Of Time To File/Complete Service. (ECF No. 14).

         On October 10, 2018, Plaintiff’s Motion for Extension Of Time was granted. (ECF No. 15).

         On December 18, 2018, the Magistrate Judge issued a briefing schedule. (ECF No. 24).

         On February 15, 2019, Plaintiff’s counsel made a request for an extension of the briefing schedule, which was granted. (ECF No. 27).

         On February 22, 2019, Plaintiff mis-filed his Opening Brief as a Motion for Summary Judgment, which was withdrawn. (ECF Nos. 28, 29, 30, 31).

         On March 1, 2019, Plaintiff filed PLAINTIFF’S OPENING BRIEF IN A SOCIAL SECURITY CASE. (ECF No. 32).

         On March 4, 2019, Defendant filed a letter requesting a continuance of the hearing date. (ECF No. 33).

         On the same date, the Court granted Defendant’s request for a continuance of the hearing date. (ECF No. 34).

         On April 16, 2019, Defendant filed the DEFENDANT’S ANSWERING BRIEF. (ECF No. 35).

         On April 29, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Appear At The Hearing Telephonically, which was granted. (ECF Nos. 36, 37).

         On May 23, 2019, Plaintiff filed PLAINTIFF’S REPLY TO DEFENDANT’S ANSWERING BRIEF. (ECF No. 39).

         On June 10, 2019, Defendant filed a letter requesting a continuance of the hearing date. (ECF No. 42).

         On the same date, the Court granted Defendant’s request for a continuance of the hearing date. (ECF No. 43).

         On June 24, 2019, the Court issued a Minute Order continuing the hearing. (ECF No. 44).

         On September 3, 2019, the Court held a hearing on Plaintiff’s appeal of the decision of the Social Security Administration Commissioner. (ECF No. 45).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff’s Work History

         Plaintiff is a 48 year-old male. (Administrative Record (“AR”) at pp. 1444, 1487, ECF Nos. 21-22).

         Plaintiff received his GED and completed one year of college courses in computer science. (AR at pp. 1469-70).

         Plaintiff did not provide a complete record of his employment history to the agency. Plaintiff did not list the dates of employment for most of his work on his applications for benefits. The Administrative Law Judge specifically questioned Plaintiff about the lack of information provided concerning his work history. Plaintiff testified that he has had more than 100 jobs in his life, and that he does not remember specific dates. He stated that he has not applied for a full-time job in more than 10 years but explained that he did perform seasonal work. (AR at pp. 1486, 1489-90). Plaintiff testified that he regularly quits jobs due to anxiety and stress, but stated that he has also been fired from work on occasion. (AR at p. 1474).

         According to records documenting Plaintiff’s contributions to the Social Security Administration through his employment history, the last significant employment Plaintiff had was in 2004 when he made $4, 000 that calendar year. (AR at p. 1473). Between 2004 and 2008, Plaintiff worked for short periods of time at a liquor store, at a restaurant, as a front-desk clerk at hotels, as a temporary worker at a college, and as a laborer for a temp agency. (AR at pp. 1504-05). ...


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