WILLIAMS v. COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY
OPINION. Signed by Judge Susan D. Wigenton on 4/24/2017. (ld, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-08795 (SDW)
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
April 24, 2017
WIGENTON, District Judge.
Before this Court is Plaintiff Craig Williams’ (“Plaintiff”) appeal of the final administrative
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”), with respect to Administrative
Law Judge Elias Feuer’s (“ALJ Feuer”) denial of Plaintiff’s claim for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under the Social Security Act (the “Act”).
This appeal is decided without oral argument pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78. This
Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Venue is proper under 28
U.S.C. § 1391(b). For the reasons set forth below, this Court finds that ALJ Feuer’s factual
findings are supported by substantial credible evidence and that his legal determinations are
correct. Therefore, the Commissioner’s decision is AFFIRMED.
PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL HISTORY
A. Procedural History
On April 13, 2012, Plaintiff applied for DIB and SSI, alleging disability as of July 1, 2009
and thereafter amended his onset date to March 29, 2012. 1 (Pl. Br. at 1.) Plaintiff’s application
was denied both initially and upon reconsideration. (R. 153–58, 170–72.) Plaintiff’s subsequent
request for a hearing before an administrative law judge was granted (R. 185–89), and a hearing
was held before ALJ Feuer on April 22, 2014. (R. 53–118.) Plaintiff, as well as a vocational
expert, appeared and testified at the hearing. (Id.) On July 10, 2014, ALJ Feuer issued a decision
finding Plaintiff was not disabled and denying his application for DIB and SSI. (R. 34–47.) On
October 23, 2015, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff’s request for review of ALJ Feuer’s July
10, 2014 decision, making it the Commissioner’s final decision. (R. 1–4.) Plaintiff now requests
that this Court reverse the Commissioner’s decision and remand this matter for an award of
benefits or, in the alternative, for further administrative proceedings. (Pl. Br. at 31–32.)
B. Factual History
1. Personal and Employment History
Plaintiff was born on December 3, 1961 and was 50 years old at the time of the hearing
before ALJ Feuer. (R. 45, Pl. Br. at 3.) He completed the 12th grade and was previously employed
as a warehouse worker, cook, aide to a supervisor, landscaper, and car sander. (R. 61–66.) Plaintiff
alleges that he became disabled due to sleep apnea and high blood pressure. (R. 119.)
Plaintiff’s application was based on alleged sleep apnea and high blood pressure. However,
this Court notes that the record and ALJ Feuer’s opinion focus extensively on plaintiff’s
complaints of back pain and obesity. This Court will therefore include that portion of the record in
2. Medical History
The record reflects that numerous medical doctors and healthcare practitioners examined
Plaintiff in relation to his disability claim. (R. 425-574.) In addition, Plaintiff testified about his
health before ALJ Feuer. (R. 78–98.) The following is a summary of the medical evidence:
On March 29, 2012, Plaintiff saw Kim C. Dixon, M.D. (“Dr. Dixon”) after visiting the
emergency room for chest discomfort. (R. 349.) Dr. Dixon diagnosed him with obstructive sleep
apnea. (R. 350.) Plaintiff underwent a sleep study on April 25, 2015, which confirmed he suffered
from severe sleep apnea, and Plaintiff was placed on a CPAP machine. (R. 331-32, 358-400.)
Plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle accident on May 19, 2012. (R. 425.) On May
22, 2012, he saw Frank G. Belverio (“Dr. Belverio”) for injuries to his neck and back. (R. 421.)
Plaintiff had mildly decreased lumbar lordotic curvature and narrowing of the disc space between
L5 and S1. (R. 421.) There was also severely decreased loss of normal curvature in the cervical
spine, and diminished disc spaces between C4-C5 and C5-C6. (R. 421.) Plaintiff subsequently
engaged in chiropractic treatment. (R. 409-21.) On July 24, 2012, he underwent an MRI of the
lumbar spine, which showed probable cervical spasm, disc herniation at L5-S1 with impingement
of the nerve roots, and minimal bulging of the L4-L5 disc without focal disc herniation or stenosis.
(R. 423.) Imaging of the cervical spine showed central herniations of the nucleus pulposus at C4C5, C5-C6, and C6-C7 with probable nerve root impingement. (R. 424.) Dr. Belverio opined that
Plaintiff could not work and would be incapacitated for more than 90 days, but less than six
months. (R. 561.)
On August 8, 2012, Plaintiff consulted with Jerald P. Vizzone, D.O., (“Dr. Vizzone”), an
orthopedic surgeon, where he complained of continued neck and low back pain with radiation to
the left upper and left lower extremities. (R. 406.) Dr. Vizzone noted Plaintiff was able to walk
without difficulty on straight away, heel walk, and toe walk. (R. 406.) Plaintiff’s cervical spine
revealed palpable paravertebral muscle spasm; his lower extremity strength was full, and he was
positive for straight leg raises bilaterally. (R. 405.)
Plaintiff also met with Amit Poonia, M.D. (“Dr. Poonia”), a pain management specialist,
on August 8th for an initial evaluation. (R. 464.) Dr. Poonia found diminished range of motion in
Plaintiff’s left arm and limited range of motion in the cervical and lumbar spine secondary to pain,
as well as mild muscle spasms throughout. (R. 425-69.) Plaintiff was positive for lumbar facet
loading and straight leg raises. (R. 426.) He also exhibited diminished sensation in several
dermatomes in the left. (Id.)
On August 22, 2012, Plaintiff underwent x-rays of the spine. (R. 405.) His cervical spine
showed reversal of the normal cervical lordosis and decreased disk space at C4-C5. (Id.) X-rays
of his lumbar spine were unremarkable. (Id.) Plaintiff also saw Dr. Poonia that day for pain
management, where Plaintiff opted to begin a series of epidural steroid injections to the lumbar
spine. (R. 462.)
Plaintiff began transforaminal epidural steroid injections on September 5, 2012. (R. 453.)
During a physical examination on September 12, 2012, Dr. Poonia found decreased range of
motion in Plaintiff’s lower extremities, lumbar spine, tender paraspinal musculature bilaterally.
(R. 445-46.) Plaintiff showed mild muscle spasms. (R. 445.) Facet loading testing was positive
bilaterally. (Id.) On September 19, 2012, Plaintiff reported 50% transient pain relief for 4 to 5
days after his steroid injection, an increase in functionality, and increased range of motion. (R.
On October 10, 2012, an electro-diagnostic study showed evidence of sub-acute left C4-5
and C5-6 radiculopathy, but no evidence of lumbar radiculopathy. (R. 434.) During a follow-up
appointment with Dr. Poonia that same day, Plaintiff displayed diminished range of motion and
tenderness to palpation in the lumbar spine. (R. 445.) He was positive for straight leg raises and
his sensation was reduced in the L4 and L5 dermatones. (R. 446.)
On October 19, 2012, Plaintiff was evaluated for acupuncture. (R. 544.) He visited Jinghui
Xie, M.D., where he complained of neck and low back pain. (R. 425.) On examination, Plaintiff
had decreased range of motion in his lumbar spine, tenderness, and muscle spasms. (R. 426.) On
November 14, 2012, Plaintiff had his third right lumbar transforaminal epidural steroid injection.
(R. 532.) Plaintiff followed up with his pain management specialist in November and December,
where he complained of cervical pain. (R. 473.) Physical examination was positive for Spurling
test and Lhermitte test on the left, sensory deficit, and slightly decreased motor strength in the left
upper extremity. (R. 474.)
The next treatment record is dated March 2014, at which time Plaintiff was examined by
David J. Greifinger, M.D. (“Dr. Greifinger”), an orthopedic surgeon. (R. 550.) There, he
complained of ongoing neck and low back pain. (R. 552.) On examination, Plaintiff exhibited
pain behaviors with cervical movement. (Id.) However, his range of motion was full in all planes,
he was nontender at the paravertebrals, and his lordotic curve was satisfactory. (Id.) He displayed
weakness in the upper extremities bilaterally but denied any paresthesias. (Id.) His reflexes were
grossly intact. (Id.) His straight leg raising test was negative bilaterally and his deep tendon
reflexes were full and equal. (Id.) Plaintiff was subsequently scheduled for another series of
epidural steroid injections. (R. 554.)
On April 2, 2014, Jeffrey Massorone, D.C., completed an Examination Report of the State
of New Jersey, Division of Family Development, in which he opined that Plaintiff could not work
from April 2, 2014 through April, 2, 2015. (R. 574.)
3. Function Report
Plaintiff submitted a self-function report dated October 23, 2012, in support of his DIB and
SSI claim. (R. 296.) Plaintiff stated that his daily activities consist of going to therapy, taking a
nap, walking to the deli to get a meal, and taking another nap or reading a book. (R. 296.) He also
has an eleven-year-old daughter who he sees two or three times a week. (R. 297.) Furthermore,
Plaintiff reported that he has difficulty getting dressed and bathing because he has difficulty
maintaining balance. (R. 297.) He self-reported that he gets along “very well” with authority
figures and that he is good at handling change, but he tries to stick to a routine. (R. 302.)
4. Hearing Testimony
At the hearing before ALJ Feuer on April 22, 2014, Plaintiff testified about his previous
employment, daily activities, debilitating conditions, and treatment. (See R. 78–98.) He discussed
his sleep apnea, hearing problems, and pain he suffers from his car accident. (Id.) Vocational
Expert Victor G. Alberigi (“Alberigi”) also testified at the hearing and first stated that someone
with Plaintiff’s limitations would be able to perform his “past relevant work” as a forklift operator,
deli slicer and short-order cook. (R. 103.) In addition, Alberigi testified that there existed
representative jobs in the national economy that a person such as Plaintiff could perform. (R. 45.)
A. Standard of Review
In Social Security appeals, this Court has plenary review of the legal issues decided by the
Commissioner. Knepp v. Apfel, 204 F.3d 78, 83 (3d Cir. 2000). Yet, this Court’s review of the
ALJ’s factual findings is limited to determining whether there is substantial evidence to support
those conclusions. Hartranft v. Apfel, 181 F.3d 358, 360 (3d Cir. 1999).
Substantial evidence “does not mean a large or considerable amount of evidence, but rather
such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.”
Pierce v. Underwood, 487 U.S. 552, 565 (1988) (internal citation and quotations omitted). Thus,
substantial evidence is “less than a preponderance of the evidence, but ‘more than a mere
scintilla.’” Bailey v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 354 F. App’x. 613, 616 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)). Importantly, “[t]his standard is not met if the
Commissioner ‘ignores, or fails to resolve, a conflict created by countervailing evidence.’” Bailey,
354 F. App’x. at 616 (quoting Kent v. Schweiker, 710 F.2d 110, 114 (3d Cir. 1983)). However, if
the factual record is adequately developed, “the possibility of drawing two inconsistent
conclusions from the evidence does not prevent an administrative agency’s finding from being
supported by substantial evidence.” Daniels v. Astrue, No. 4:08-cv-1676, 2009 WL 1011587, at
*2 (M.D. Pa. Apr. 15, 2009) (quoting Consolo v. Fed. Mar. Comm’n, 383 U.S. 607, 620 (1966)
(internal quotation marks omitted)). “The ALJ’s decision may not be set aside merely because [a
reviewing court] would have reached a different decision.” Cruz v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 244 F.
App’x. 475, 479 (3d Cir. 2007) (citing Hartranft, 181 F.3d at 360). This Court is required to give
substantial weight and deference to the ALJ’s findings. See Scott v. Astrue, 297 F. App’x. 126,
128 (3d Cir. 2008). Nonetheless, “where there is conflicting evidence, the ALJ must explain which
evidence he accepts and which he rejects, and the reasons for that determination.” Cruz, 244 F.
App’x. at 479 (citing Hargenrader v. Califano, 575 F.2d 434, 437 (3d Cir. 1978)).
In considering an appeal from a denial of benefits, remand is appropriate “where relevant,
probative and available evidence was not explicitly weighed in arriving at a decision on the
plaintiff’s claim for disability benefits.” Dobrowolsky v. Califano, 606 F.2d 403, 407 (3d Cir.
1979) (quoting Saldana v. Weinberger, 421 F. Supp. 1127, 1131 (E.D. Pa. 1976) (internal
quotation marks omitted). Indeed, a decision to “award benefits should be made only when the
administrative record of the case has been fully developed and when substantial evidence on the
record as a whole indicates that the claimant is disabled and entitled to benefits.” Podedworny v.
Harris, 745 F.2d 210, 221–22 (3d Cir. 1984) (citations omitted).
B. The Five–Step Disability Test
A claimant’s eligibility for social security benefits is governed by 42 U.S.C. § 1382. An
individual will be considered disabled under the Act if the claimant is unable “to engage in any
substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental
impairment” lasting continuously for at least twelve months. 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). The
impairment must be severe enough to render the individual “not only unable to do his previous
work but [unable], considering his age, education, and work experience, [to] engage in any kind
of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A). A
claimant must show that the “medical signs and findings” related to his or her ailment have been
“established by medically acceptable clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques, which show the
existence of a medical impairment that results from anatomical, physiological, or psychological
abnormalities which could reasonably be expected to produce the pain or other symptoms alleged
. . . . ” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(5)(A).
To make a disability determination, the ALJ follows a five-step sequential analysis. 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a), 416.920(a); see also Cruz, 244 F. App’x at 480. If the ALJ determines at
any step that the claimant is or is not disabled, the ALJ does not proceed to the next step. 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(a)(4), 416.920(a)(4).
Step one requires the ALJ to determine whether the claimant is engaging in substantial
gainful activity (“SGA”). 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(i), 416.920(a)(4)(i). SGA is defined as
work that “[i]nvolves doing significant and productive physical or mental duties . . . for pay or
profit.” 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1510, 416.910. If the claimant engages in SGA, the claimant is not
disabled for purposes of receiving social security benefits regardless of the severity of the
claimant’s impairments. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(i), 416.920(a)(4)(i). If the individual is
not engaging in SGA, the ALJ proceeds to step two.
Under step two, the ALJ determines whether the claimant suffers from a severe impairment
or combination of impairments that meets the duration requirement found in Sections 404.1509
and 416.909. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(ii), 416.920(a)(4)(ii). An impairment or a combination
of impairments is not severe when medical and other evidence establishes only a slight abnormality
or combination of abnormalities that would have a minimal effect on an individual’s ability to
work. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1521, 416.921; Social Security Rule (“SSR”) 85-28, 96-3p, 96-4p. An
impairment or a combination of impairments is severe when it significantly limits the claimant’s
“physical or mental ability to do basic work activities.” 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c), 416.920(c). If
a severe impairment or combination of impairments is not found, the claimant is not disabled. 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(ii), 416.920(a)(4)(ii).
If the ALJ finds a severe impairment or
combination of impairments, the ALJ then proceeds to step three.
Under step three, the ALJ determines whether the claimant’s impairment or combination
of impairments is equal to, or exceeds, one of those included in the Listing of Impairments in 20
C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(iii), 416.920(a)(4)(iii). If an
impairment or combination of impairments meets the statutory criteria of a listed impairment as
well as the duration requirement, the claimant is disabled and entitled to benefits. 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(d), 416.920(d). If, however, the claimant’s impairment or combination of impairments
does not meet the severity of the listed impairment, or if the duration is insufficient, the ALJ
proceeds to the next step.
Before undergoing the analysis in step four, the ALJ must determine the claimant’s residual
functional capacity (“RFC”). 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a), 404.1520(e), 416.920(a), 416.920(e). An
individual’s RFC is the individual’s ability to do physical and mental work activities on a sustained
basis despite limitations from his or her impairments. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1545, 416.945. The ALJ
considers all impairments in this analysis, not just those deemed to be severe. 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1545(a)(2), 416.945(a)(2); SSR 96-8p. After determining a claimant’s RFC, step four then
requires the ALJ to determine whether the claimant has the RFC to perform the requirements of
his or her past relevant work. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(e)-(f), 416.920(e)-(f). If the claimant is able
to perform his or her past relevant work, he or she will not be found disabled under the Act. 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(iv), 404.1520(f), 416.920(a)(4)(iv), 416.920(f). If the claimant is unable
to resume his or her past work, the disability evaluation proceeds to the fifth and final step.
At step five, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant is able to do any other work,
considering his or her RFC, age, education, and work experience. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(v),
416.920(a)(4)(v). Unlike in the first four steps of the analysis where the claimant bears the burden
of persuasion, at step five the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) is “responsible for providing
evidence that demonstrates that other work exists in significant numbers in the national economy
that [the claimant] can do, given [the claimant’s RFC] and vocational factors.” 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1560(c)(2), 416.960(c)(2). If the claimant is unable to do any other SGA, he or she is disabled.
20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(v), 416.920(a)(4)(v).
ALJ Feuer applied the Five-Step Disability Test to the facts comprising Plaintiff’s
application for DIB and SSI and determined that Plaintiff was not disabled under the relevant
portions of the Social Security Act. (See R. 37–47.) Specifically, ALJ Feuer determined that:
Plaintiff “does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically
equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1,”
Plaintiff “is capable of performing past relevant work as short order clerk,” and “there are jobs that
exist in significant numbers in the national economy that [Plaintiff] can perform.” (R. 40, 44–45)
(citations omitted). These factual findings are supported by substantial credible evidence in the
record. Therefore, this Court affirms ALJ Feuer’s denial of SSI.
At step one of the disability analysis, ALJ Feuer properly found that Plaintiff had not
engaged in SGA since March 29, 2012, the alleged onset date of Plaintiff’s disability. (R. 39); see
20 C.F.R. §§ 416.971 et seq. He accordingly proceeded to step two to determine what, if any,
severe impairments Plaintiff suffered. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(ii), 416.920(a)(4)(ii).
At step two, ALJ Feuer properly considered the entire medical record and found that
Plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments: “cervical and lumbar degenerative disc
disease, and obesity.” (R. 39); see 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c), 416.920(c). ALJ Feuer found that
these severe impairments “cause significant limitations in [Plaintiff’s] ability to perform basic
work-related activities, in combination if not singly.” (R. 39.) However, he did not find that
Plaintiff’s alleged hypertension, sleep apnea, and hearing difficulties were “severe.” (R. 40.)
These findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record. Once ALJ Feuer determined
which of Plaintiff’s impairments qualified as “severe,” he considered, under step three, whether
Plaintiff’s severe impairments equal or exceed those in the Listing of Impairments in the Act. See
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(iii), 416.920(a)(4)(iii).
At step three, ALJ Feuer properly determined that Plaintiff’s impairments did not equal or
exceed the impairments included in the Listing of Impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. §§ 416.920(d), 416.925, and 416.926). (R. 40.) Specifically, he properly
found that Plaintiff’s impairments did not meet or medically equal the criteria of listing 1.04. (Id.)
In support of his finding, he stated:
[T]he claimant underwent MRIs of the spine that did not show degenerative changes to the
level described by the listing. Moreover, the claimant’s gait was unremarkable on
examination. The undersigned therefore finds the claimant does not meet or medically
equal listing 1.04.
(Id.) (citations omitted). Next, ALJ Feuer correctly considered Plaintiff’s obesity in the
context of the overall record evidence in determining that it did not meet the requisite qualifications
of Social Security Ruling 02-1p. (R. 41.)
Before undergoing the analysis in step four, ALJ Feuer determined Plaintiff’s RFC. (R.
41-44.) ALJ Feuer properly found that Plaintiff has the RFC to perform light work as defined in
20 C.F.R. 404.1567(a) and 416.967(b), meaning the claimant can occasionally lift 20 pounds and
frequently lift 10 pounds. (R. 41.) In making this determination, ALJ Feuer considered all of
Plaintiff’s symptoms to the extent they could be accepted as consistent with the objective medical
evidence and all other evidence based on the requirements of 20 C.F.R. 404.1529 and 20 C.F.R.
416.929 and SSRs 96-4p and 96-7p. (Id.) ALJ Feuer also considered opinion evidence in
accordance with the requirements of 20 CFR 404.1527 and 20 C.F.R. 416.927 and SSRs 96-2p,
96-5p, 96-6p and 06-3p. (Id.) In support of his finding, ALJ Feuer cited extensively to Plaintiff’s
testimony, the treatment and evaluative records of Dr. Vizzone, Dr. Poonia, and Dr. Greifinger
and the opinion evidence of the State agency physical medical consultant. 2 (See R. 42-43.) He
gave little weight to assessments finding Plaintiff not ambulatory as they were inconsistent with
ALJ Feuer gave no weight to the statements of Dr. Belvario, as they were conclusive
findings of disability and not considered a medical opinion within the meaning of the Social
Security Administration regulations. (R. 44.)
Plaintiff’s abilities at a physical examination. (R. 44.) In light of the substantial evidence he
reviewed, this Court finds that ALJ Feuer properly determined Plaintiff’s RFC.
After determining Plaintiff’s RFC, at step four ALJ Feuer properly found that Plaintiff can
perform his past relevant work as a short order clerk under 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1565, 416.965. (R.
44.) He determined that in comparing Plaintiff’s RFC with the physical and mental demands of
this work, Plaintiff is capable of actually and generally performing this work. (R. 45.) ALJ Feuer
then continued to step five to determine whether there exists work in the national economy that
Plaintiff could also perform. See C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(v), 416.920(a)(4)(v), 404.1520(f),
416.920(f), 404.1520(g)(1), 416.920(g)(1).
At step five, ALJ Feuer properly found that Plaintiff can perform work that exists in
significant numbers in the national economy. (R. 45); see 20 C.F.R. §§404.1569, 416.969,
404.1569(a), 416.969(a). He considered Plaintiff’s age, education, work experience and RFC, as
well as Alberigi’s testimony. (R. 45–46.) Alberigi determined that Plaintiff was capable of
satisfying the requirements of the representative occupations of a parking lot cashier, bench/small
products assembler I, and electrical accessories assembler I. (R. 45.) Thus, ALJ Feuer’s finding
that Plaintiff is capable of performing work that exists in significant numbers in the national
economy is supported by substantial credible evidence. Accordingly, ALJ Feuer was correct in
determining that Plaintiff is not disabled under sections 216(i), 223(d), and 1614(a)(3)(A) of the
Social Security Act. (R. 47); see 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(v), 416. 920(a)(4)(v).
Because this Court finds that ALJ Feuer’s factual findings were supported by substantial
credible evidence in the record and that his legal conclusions were correct, the Commissioner’s
determination is AFFIRMED.
s/ Susan D. Wigenton
SUSAN D. WIGENTON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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