Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Marks v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Oregon

March 8, 2017

BENJAMIN OWEN MARKS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN COLVIN, Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          MERRILL SCHNEIDER Attorneys for Plaintiff

          BILLY J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney, JANICE E. HEBERT Assistant United States Attorney, ERIN F. HIGHLAND Special Assistant United States Attorney Attorneys for Defendant

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Malcolm F. Marsh United States District Judge

         Plaintiff, Benjamin Owen Marks, brings this action for judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the "Commissioner") denying Plaintiffs application for supplemental social security ("SSI") under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (the "Act"). This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). For the reasons that follow, the final decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On March 24, 2010, Plaintiff filed an application for SSI alleging disability beginning February 1, 2009, with a protective filing date of February 12, 2010. Tr. 305-308. Plaintiff alleged disability due to psoriatic arthritis, depression, bi-polar disorder, plantar fasciitis, and torn meniscus in the right knee. Tr. 332. Plaintiffs application was denied initially and upon reconsideration, and Plaintiff requested a hearing. Tr. 133-166, 201-204.

         On January 27, 2012, a hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Paul G. Robeck. Tr. 51-94. OnFebruary 10, 2012, the ALJ found Plaintiff not disabled within the meaning of the Act. Tr. 164-181.

         Plaintiff filed a request for review by the Appeals Council, and on June 6, 2013, the Appeals Council remanded the case to the ALJ. Tr. 182-185, 242. On November 15, 2013, and on February 25, 2014, hearings were held before ALJ Robeck. Tr. 42-50, 95-132. On March 20, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision denying Plaintiffs application. Tr. 19-36. Plaintiff requested review of the ALJ's decision, which the Appeals Council denied on September 17, 2015. Tr. 1-6. Accordingly, the ALJ's March 20, 2014, decision became the final decision of the Commissioner.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Born in 1961, Plaintiff was 47 years old on February 1, 2009, the alleged disability onset date. Tr. 328. Plaintiff has a high school diploma and several years of college. Tr. 55. Plaintiff has past relevant work as a social service aide. Tr. 35.

         THE ALJ'S DISABILITY ANALYSIS

         The Commissioner has established a five-step sequential process for determining whether a person is disabled. Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 140-42 (1987); 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4)(i)-(v), Each step is potentially dispositive. The claimant bears the burden of proof at steps one through four. Tackett v. Apfell 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999). The burden shifts to the Commissioner at step five to show that a significant number of jobs exist in the national economy that the claimant can perform. Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 141-142; Tackett, 180 F.3d at 1098.

         At step one, the Commissioner determined that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 12, 2010, the application date. Tr. 21, At step two, the ALJ found Plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments: arthritis of the bilateral hands; obesity; mild degenerative disc disease of the lumbar and thoracic spine; and mild degenerative joint disease of the right knee. Tr. 22. The ALJ noted that other symptoms and complaints appear in the medical treatment records periodically, but that there is nothing to show that they are more than transient or that they cause significant vocational limitations, and any such impairments are not severe because no objective acceptable medical documentation supports such a finding. Tr. 22. The ALJ also found Plaintiff suffered from medically determinable mental impairments of depressive disorder, antisocial personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and history of intravenous methamphetamine use, but that considered singly and in combination, these impairments do not cause more than minimal limitation in Plaintiffs ability to perform basic mental work activities, and are therefore non-severe. Tr. 22.

         At step three, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meet or medically equal any listed impairment. Tr. 27. The ALJ then found Plaintiff has the following residual functional capacity ("RFC"):

[C]laimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(a) except: occasionally climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl; no climbing of ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; and no more than frequent handling and fingering.

Tr. 28.

         At step four, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff retained the ability to perform the requirements of his past relevant work as a social service aide. Tr. 35. Accordingly, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Act. Tr. 25.

         SUMMARY OF ISSUES

         Plaintiff argues the ALJ erred in five respects: (1) in discrediting Plaintiffs testimony; (2) in discrediting the testimony of lay witness Teresa Mattingly; (3) in failing to adequately consider the medical opinions of treating physician Kenneth Scalapino, M.D., and examining physicians John Ellison, M.D., and Ronald D, Duvall, Ph.D.; (4) in improperly rejecting severe impairments at step two; and (5) in failing to conduct an adequate analysis at steps four and five, STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The district court must affirm the Commissioner's decision if the Commissioner applied proper legal standards and the findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Berry v. Astrue, 622 F.3d 1228, 1231 (9th Cir. 2010). "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 (2012) (internal quotations omitted); Valentine v. Commissioner Social Sec. Admin.,574 F.3d 685, 690 (9th Cir. 2009). The court must weigh all the evidence, whether it supports or detracts from the Commissioner's decision. Martinez v. Heckler,807 F.2d 771, 772 (9th Cir. 1986). The Commissioner's decision must be upheld, even if the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation. Batson v. Commissioner Soc. Sec. Admin,,359 F.3d 1190, 1193 (9th Cir. 2004). ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.