United States District Court, D. Oregon
ARTHUR WILBER STEVENS, III, Black Chapman Webber & Stevens, Medford, OR, Attorneys for Plaintiff.
S. AMANDA MARSHALL, United States Attorney, RONALD K. SILVER, Assistant United States Attorney, Portland, OR, DAVID MORADO, Regional Chief Counsel, GERALD J, HILL, Special Assistant United States Attorneys Social Security Administration, Seattle, WA, Attorneys for Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
ANNA J. BROWN, District Judge.
Plaintiff Barbara Jean Hicks seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) in which she denied Plaintiff's application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI of the Act.
This Court has jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Following a thorough review of the record, the Court AFFIRMS the final decision of the Commissioner.
Plaintiff filed her application for DIB on October 6, 2010. Tr. 24. Her applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a hearing on August 28, 2012. Tr. 50. At the hearing Plaintiff was represented by an attorney. Plaintiff and a vocational expert (VE) testified at the hearing. Tr. 51.
The ALJ issued a decision on October 25, 2012, in which she found Plaintiff is not entitled to benefits. Tr. 24-35. That decision became the final decision of the Commissioner on January 28, 2014, when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. Tr. 1-4. See Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000).
Plaintiff was born on October 6, 1964; was 47 years old on the date of the hearing; and has an eleventh-grade education. Tr. 58, 249, 260. Plaintiff has prior relevant work experience as a waitress, restaurant owner, and executive chef. Tr. 33, 74-76.
Plaintiff alleges disability since October 6, 2010, due to a "back condition, " migraine headaches, heart palpitations, bilateral carpal-tunnel syndrome, "memory loss, " depression, asthma, and ulcers. Tr. 24, 254.
Except as 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. 27-33.
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 her 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, 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, ...