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Garcia v. Berryhill

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

January 22, 2018

ROGELIO ALEMAN GARCIA, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant-Appellee.

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas

          Before HIGGINBOTHAM, JONES, and SMITH, Circuit Judges.

         ON PETITION FOR REHEARING

          PER CURIAM

         IT IS ORDERED that the petition for rehearing is DENIED.

         The petition for panel rehearing helpfully calls attention to factual errors in the opinion. We correct them by substituting the following opinion:

* * *
Before HIGGINBOTHAM, JONES, and SMITH, Circuit Judges.
JERRY E. SMITH, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         Rogelio Garcia appeals the district court's decision to deny disability benefits he sought from the Social Security Administration ("SSA"). Because the decision is supported by substantial evidence, we affirm.

         I.

         In January 2012, Garcia applied for disability insurance benefits under 42 U.S.C. § 423 as of January 1, 2007, based on hearing loss and post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD") allegedly induced by his service in Vietnam. The SSA denied his application initially and on reconsideration, so he sought a de novo hearing before an ALJ. After considering Garcia's work and medical history, the ALJ likewise denied the application.

         The record before the ALJ revealed that since leaving the service, Garcia had earned consistent, and at times substantial, income through 2005. Between 1997 and 1999, he was a dispatcher at a produce company, where he was responsible for traffic control and oversaw the work of four other employees. In 2000, he started his own produce brokerage business and managed several employees. He has not worked since December 2005.

         At some point between 2005 and 2007, Garcia sought treatment from a doctor for "dizzy spells" and was advised that he should file for disability with the Veteran's Administration ("VA"). He applied in August 2009 and was subject to a psychological evaluation by Dr. Paul Hamilton one year later as part of the VA's evaluation.[1] Hamilton found that Garcia possessed powers of comprehension, judgment, communication, and abstract thinking, all within a normal range, but that his "impaired attention" and abnormal speech patterns left "little opportunity for normal" conversation. Hamilton also concluded that ...


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