United States District Court, D. Oregon
DONALD W. WINDHOVEL, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner, Social Security Administration,  Defendant.
TIM D. WILBORN, Las Vegas, NV. Attorney for Plaintiff.
S. AMANDA MARSHALL, United States Attorney, ADRIAN L. BROWN, Assistant United States Attorney, Portland, OR, DAVID MORADO, Regional Chief Counsel, KATHY REIF, Special Assistant United States Attorney Social Security Administration, Seattle, WA, Attorneys for Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
ANNA J. BROWN, District Judge.
Plaintiff Donald W. Windhovel seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) in which she denied Plaintiff's application for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) under Title II of the Social Security Act. This Court has jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's final decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Following a review of the record, the Court REVERSES the decision of the Commissioner and REMANDS this matter pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for further administrative proceedings consistent with this Opinion and Order.
Plaintiff filed an application for DIB on June 29, 2010, alleging a disability onset date of April 30, 2009. Tr. 117-19. The application was denied initially and on reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a hearing on November 8, 2011. Tr. 7-33. At the hearing Plaintiff was represented by an attorney. Plaintiff and a vocational expert (VE) testified.
The ALJ issued a decision on December 29, 2011, in which he found Plaintiff was not disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to benefits. Tr. 54-60. Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 404.984(d), that decision became the final decision of the Commissioner on November 8, 2012, when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review.
Plaintiff was born April 28, 1954, and was 57 years old at the time of the hearing. Tr. 34. Plaintiff completed high school. Tr. 10. Plaintiff has past relevant work experience as a sheet-metal fabricator and shop foreman. Tr. 148.
Plaintiff alleges disability due to lung cancer and back pain. Tr. 56.
Except when noted, Plaintiff does not challenge the ALJ's summary of the medical evidence. After carefully reviewing the medical records, this Court adopts the ALJ's summary of the medical evidence. See Tr. 57-58.
The initial burden of proof rests on the claimant to establish disability. Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1110 (9th Cir. 2012). To meet this burden, a claimant must demonstrate his inability "to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which... has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). The ALJ must develop the record when there is ambiguous evidence or when the record is inadequate to allow for proper evaluation of the evidence. McLeod v. Astrue, 640 F.3d 881, 885 (9th Cir. 2011)(quoting Mayes v. Massanari, 276 F.3d 453, 459-60 (9th Cir. 2001)).
The district court must affirm the Commissioner's decision if it is based on proper legal standards and the findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). See also Brewes v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec. Admin., 682 F.3d 1157, 1161 (9th Cir. 2012). Substantial evidence is "relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Molina, 674 F.3d. at 1110-11 (quoting Valentine v. Comm'r Soc. Sec. Admin., 574 F.3d 685, 690 (9th Cir. 2009)). "It is more than a mere scintilla [of evidence] but less than a preponderance." Id. (citing Valentine, 574 F.3d at 690).
The ALJ is responsible for determining credibility, resolving conflicts in the medical evidence, and resolving ambiguities. Vasquez v. Astrue, 572 F.3d 586, 591 (9th Cir. 2009). The court must weigh all of the evidence whether it supports or detracts from the Commissioner's decision. Ryan v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 528 F.3d 1194, 1198 (9th Cir. 2008). Even when the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the court must uphold the Commissioner's findings if they are supported by inferences reasonably drawn from the record. Ludwig v. Astrue, 681 F.3d 1047, ...