United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
CLARKE, UNITED STATES Magistrate Judge
Helen Hughes, on behalf of Ray Allen Hughes
("Hughes"), seeks to reverse and remand the final
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration ("Commissioner") denying
Hughes's application for Disability Insurance Benefits
("DIB") under title II of the Social Security Act.
This court has jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and
§ 1383(c). Because the Commissioner's decision is
supported by substantial evidence, it is AFFIRMED.
filed his application for DIB on September 6, 2012. Tr. 280.
He alleged disability beginning May 15, 2004 due to stage
four intestinal cancer, swelling of the brain, stomach
cancer, pain, high blood pressure, and a knee condition. Tr.
After the Commissioner denied his application initially and
upon reconsideration Hughes requested a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). Administrative
hearings were held on January 24, 2013, and March 6, 2013.
Tr. 24-45, 46-79.
April 26, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision finding Hughes not
disabled. Tr. 8-23. The Appeals Council denied Hughes's
subsequent request for review on July 11, 2013, and the
ALJ's decision became the Commissioner's final
decision subject to review by this court. Tr. 1-4; 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.981, 422.210. Hughes appealed the
Commissioner's decision to the District Court. After
Hughes submitted briefing, the Commissioner agreed to remand
the case for further proceedings. The District Court adopted
the parties' Stipulated Motion for Remand, reversed the
ALJ's decision, and remanded the case to the Agency for
further proceedings on August 22, 2014. Tr. 400-04. The ALJ
reviewed new evidence and held another hearing on July 7,
2015. Tr. 307-26. In a decision dated August 28, 2015, the
ALJ again found Hughes not disabled, and Plaintiff sought
review in this court. Tr. 290-306.
November, 1955, Hughes was 56 years old when he filed his
application for DIB. Tr. 280. He has past relevant work as a
recreational vehicle repairer and business manager. Tr. 300.
is the "inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or
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 engages in a five-step sequential
inquiry to determine whether a claimant is disabled within
the meaning of the Act. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520;
Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098-99 (9th Cir.
one, the ALJ found that Hughes had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity after the alleged onset date through his
date last insured of December 31, 2010. Tr. 295. At step two,
the ALJ found that Hughes has the following severe
impairments: osteoarthritis of the knees, status post
arthroscopic surgery and history of fractures malleolus, and
obesity. Tr. 296. At step three, the ALJ found Hughes did not
have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled a listed impairment. Id.
next assessed Hughes's RFC and determined that through
the date last insured, he could perform a range of light work
with the following limitations: he can stand and walk each
six hours in an eight hour workday; sit for six hours per
day; lift 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently;
occasionally climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; frequently
climb ramps and stairs; occasionally crouch, kneel, and
crawl; and frequently balance and stoop. Tr. 296.
four, the ALJ found Hughes could not perform any of his past
relevant work. Tr. 300. At step five, the ALJ determined
Hughes had transferable skills from his past work and could
perform jobs that exist in significant numbers in the
national economy, including parts sales person and invoice
control clerk. Tr. 301. The ALJ therefore concluded Hughes
was not disabled during the relevant period. Id.
reviewing 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. 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g); Lewis v. Astrue,498 F.3d 909, 911
(9th Cir. 2007). This court must weigh the evidence that
supports and detracts from the ALJ's conclusion.
Lingenfelter v. Astrue,504 F.3d 1028, 1035 (9th
Cir. 2007), citing Reddick v. Chater,157 F.3d 715,
720 (9th Cir. 1998). The reviewing court may not substitute
its judgment for that of the Commissioner. Ryan v. Comm
'r of Soc. Sec. Admin.,528 F.3d 1194, 1205 (9th
Cir. 2008), citing Parra v. Astrue,481 F.3d 742,
746 (9th Cir. 2007); see also Edlund v. Massanari,253 F.3d 1152, 1156 (9th Cir. 2001). Where the evidence is
susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the
Commissioner's decision must be upheld if it is
'"supported by inferences reasonably ...