United States District Court, D. Oregon
HESHAM M. ABDALLA, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.
ALAN STUART GRAF, Floyd, VA, Attorney for Plaintiff.
BILLY J. WILLIAMS, Acting United States Attorney, RONALD K. SILVER, Assistant United States Attorney, Portland, OR, DAVID MORADO, Regional Chief Counsel, LARS J. NELSON, Special Assistant United States Attorney, Denver, CO, Attorneys for Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
ANNA J. BROWN, District Judge.
Plaintiff Hesham M. Abdalla seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) in which she denied Plaintiff's applications for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. This Court has jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's final decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
For the reasons that follow, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Commissioner and DISMISSES this matter.
Plaintiff filed applications for DIB and SSI on February 19, 2010, and alleged a disability onset date of December 1, 2009. Tr. 260, 268. In December 2012 Plaintiff amended his onset date to August 9, 2010. Tr. 376. Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a hearing on March 13, 2012, and a supplemental hearing on December 18, 2012. Tr. 33-64, 65-108. At the first hearing Plaintiff and a vocational expert (VE) testified. At the second hearing Plaintiff, a VE, and a medical expert (ME) testified. Plaintiff was represented by an attorney at both hearings.
On January 10, 2013, the ALJ issued an opinion in which she found Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to benefits. Tr. 10-26. On May 30, 2014, that decision became the final decision of the Commissioner when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. Tr. 1-6. See Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000).
Plaintiff was born on August 9, 1960. Tr. 260. Plaintiff was 51 years old at the time of the first hearing and 52 years old at the time of the second hearing. Plaintiff has a college education. Tr. 17. The ALJ found Plaintiff has past relevant work experience as a retail shop owner, maintenance technician, and manufacturing technician. Tr. 24.
Plaintiff alleges disability due to "low vision, " diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, pain and numbness of the left upper neck and extremity, and migraines. Tr. 109.
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. 18-23.
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, ...