United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
Michael J. McShane United States District Judge.
Charles Woosley brings this action for judicial review of a
final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying
her application for disability insurance benefits (DIB) under
Title II of the Social Security Act and Supplemental Security
Income (SSI). The Court has jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). Because the
Commissioner's decision is based on proper legal
standards and supported by substantial evidence, the
Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.
AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
filed an application for disability insurance benefits on
January 18, 2012, alleging disability beginning August 1,
2009. Tr. 51. The claim was denied initially on May 3, 2012
and upon reconsideration on August 8, 2012. Tr. 110-113. A
hearing was held on February 25, 2014 and on April 4, 2014
the ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff was not disabled.
Tr. 48-67. The Appeals Council denied the request for review,
making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the
Commissioner. Tr. 1-5. This appeal followed.
reviewing court shall affirm the Commissioner's decision
if the decision is based on proper legal standards and the
legal findings are supported by substantial evidence on the
record. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Batson v. Comm'r for
Soc. Sec. Admin., 359 F.3d 1190, 1193 (9th Cir. 2004).
“Substantial evidence is ‘more than a mere
scintilla but less than a preponderance; it is such relevant
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.'” Hill v. Astrue,
698 F.3d 1153, 1159 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Sandgathe v.
Chater, 108 F.3d 978, 980 (9th Cir. 1997)). To determine
whether substantial evidence exists, this Court reviews the
administrative record as a whole, weighing both the evidence
that supports and that which detracts from the ALJ's
conclusion. Martinez v. Heckler, 807 F.2d 771, 772
(9th Cir. 1986).
Commissioner's findings are upheld if supported by
inferences reasonably drawn from the record. If evidence
exists to support more than one rational interpretation, the
court must defer to the Commissioner's decision.
Batson, 359 F.3d at 1193; Aukland v.
Massanari, 257 F.3d 1033, 1034-35 (9th Cir. 2000) (when
evidence can rationally be interpreted in more than one way,
the court must uphold the Commissioner's decision). A
reviewing court, however, “cannot affirm the
Commissioner's decision on a ground that the
Administration did not invoke in making its decision.”
Stout v. Comm'r Soc. Sec. Admin., 454 F.3d 1050,
1054 (9th Cir. 2006) (citation omitted). A court may not
reverse an ALJ's decision on account of an error that is
harmless. Id. at 1055-56. “[T]he burden of
showing that an error is harmful normally falls upon the
party attacking the agency's determination.”
Shinseki v. Sanders, 556 U.S. 396, 409 (2009).
need not discuss all evidence presented, but must explain why
significant probative evidence has been rejected. Stark
v. Shalala, 886 F.Supp. 733, 735 (D. Or. 1995). See
also Howard ex rel. Wolff v. Barnhart, 341 F.3d 1006,
1012 (9th Cir. 2003) (in interpreting the evidence and
developing the record, the ALJ need not discuss every piece
Social Security Administration uses a five step sequential
evaluation to determine whether a claimant is disabled. 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520; 416.920. The initial burden of
proof rests upon the claimant to meet the first four steps.
If claimant satisfies his or her burden with respect to the
first four steps, the burden shifts to the Commissioner at
step five. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520. At step five, the
Commissioner's burden is to demonstrate the claimant is
capable of making an adjustment to other work after
considering the claimant's residual functional capacity,
age, education, and work experience. Id.
the ALJ found at step one of the sequential analysis that
there had been a continuous 12-month period which Plaintiff
did not engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). Tr. 54.
At step two, the ALJ found Plaintiff suffered from the
following severe impairments: degenerative disc and joint
disease of the lumbar spine. Id. At step three, the
ALJ found that none of Plaintiff's impairments, alone or
in combination, met or medically equaled one of the listed
impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. Tr.
55. At step four, the ALJ found plaintiff retained the
residual functional capacity to perform his past relevant
work as an auto-parts counter person and potato sorter, both
as actually and generally performed. Tr. 61. The ALJ
evaluated Plaintiff as having the residual functional
capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R.
404.1567(b) and 416.967(b), except the plaintiff is limited
to occasional climbing of ramps or stairs; no climbing of
ladders, ropes or scaffolds; frequent balancing; occasional
stooping, kneeling and crouching; no crawling; and must avoid
concentrated exposure to extreme cold, excessive vibration,
and hazardous machinery. Tr. 56.
disputes the ALJ's finding at step 4 contending that,
when the entire record is examined, there is not substantial
evidence to support the ALJ's decision and the decision
is based on improper legal standards.. Pl.'s Br. 8-9, ECF
No. 11. Plaintiff contends that his combined impairments are
of a severity sufficient to preclude him from performing his
past work, as well as any work which exists in significant
numbers in the national and local economy. Id.
Reliance on vocational expert ...