United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
E. Jones Senior Judge United States District Court
Lacey Green appeals the final decision of the Commissioner of
the Social Security Administration denying her applications
for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental
Security Income (SSI) under Titles II and XVI of the Social
Security Act. Because the Commissioner's decision is
supported by substantial evidence, the decision is AFFIRMED.
filed concurrent applications for SSI and DIB alleging
disability as of November 15, 2010 due to fibromyalgia,
anxiety with panic attacks, major depressive disorder, and
degenerative disc disease. Admin. R. 12, 14, 231.
performed the sequential analysis described in 20 C.F.R
sections 404.1520 and 416.920, He found plaintiffs ability to
perform basic work activities limited by fibromyalgia,
degenerative disc disease, major depressive disorder, and
generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks. Admin. R.
14. The ALJ found that, despite these impairments, plaintiff
retained the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform a
range of light, simple, and routine work involving limited
climbing and crawling, in a work setting that does not
require frequent or close contact with co-workers, teamwork,
or collaboration with others. Admin. R. 16.
elicited testimony from a vocational expert (VE), who said
that a person with plaintiffs RFC and vocational factors
could perform light, unskilled occupations such as mailroom
clerk and small product assembler, representing several
hundred thousand jobs in the national economy. Admin. R. 23,
64-65. The ALJ therefore concluded plaintiff was not disabled
within the meaning of the Social Security Act. Admin. R.
district court must affirm the Commissioner's decision if
it is based on the proper legal standards and the findings
are supported by substantial evidence. 42 U.S.C. §
405(g); see also Hammock v. Bowen, 879 F.2d 498, 501
(9th Cir. 1989). "Substantial evidence" means
"more than a mere scintilla but less than a
preponderance." Bray v. Comm 'r, 554 F.3d
1219, 1222 (9th Cir. 2009). It means "such relevant
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion." Id.
the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational
interpretation, the Commissioner's conclusion must be
upheld. Btirch v. Barnhart, 400 F.3d 676, 679 (9th
Cir. 2005). Variable interpretations of the evidence are
insignificant if the Commissioner's interpretation is a
rational reading of the record, and this Court may not
substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner. See
Batson v. Comm V, 359 F.3d 1190, 1193 (9th Cir.
2004). "However, a reviewing court must consider the
entire record as a whole and may not affirm simply by
isolating a specific quantum of supporting evidence."
Orn v. Astnte, 495 F.3d 625, 630 (9th Cir. 2007).
The reviewing court, however, may not affirm the Commissioner
on a ground upon which the Commissioner did not rely.
Id.; see also Bray, 554 F.3d at 1226.
Claims of Error
argues the Commissioner erred by (1) improperly evaluating
the medical opinion of treating physician William Barth,
M.D.; (2) rejecting her subjective symptom testimony; (3)
rejecting the lay witness testimony; and (4) improperly
relying on the VE testimony at step five.
Medical Opinion Evidence
Barth was plaintiffs treating physician. In 2012, he opined
that plaintiff was limited by pain to one hour or less of
sitting, standing, and walking. Admin. R. 330-31. Dr. Barth
also stated that plaintiff could not lift or carry over 20
pounds and that her ability to travel was limited by pain.
Dr. Barth attributed these limitations to plaintiffs
degenerative disc disease with peripheral neuropathy, and
chronic depression, Admin. R. 21, 330, 331. ...