United States District Court, D. Oregon
MERRILL SCHNEIDER Schneider Kerr & Robichaux Attorneys
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney
E. HEBERT Assistant United States Attorney
MORADO Regional Chief Counsel
TA LU Special Assistant United States Attorney Social
Security Administration Attorneys for Defendant
OPINION AND ORDER
J. BROWN, United States District Judge
Valerie McClure seeks judicial review of a final decision of
the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA)
in which she denied Plaintiff's applications for
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Disability Insurance
Benefits (DIB) under Titles XVI and II of the Social Security
Act. This Court has jurisdiction to review the
Commissioner's final decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
reasons that follow, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the
Commissioner and DISMISSES this matter.
filed her applications for DIB and SSI on May 4, 2009. Tr.
1119. Plaintiff alleged a disability onset date
of January 26, 2007. Her applications were denied initially
and on reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
held a hearing on March 16, 2011. Tr. 72-106. At the hearing
Plaintiff was represented by an attorney. Plaintiff, two lay
witnesses, a medical expert (ME), and a vocational expert
(VE) testified at the hearing.
issued a decision on March 24, 2011, in which he found
Plaintiff was not disabled and, therefore, was not entitled
to benefits. Tr. 19. On January 18, 2012, the Appeals Council
entered an order in which it remanded the matter to the ALJ.
held a hearing on remand on July 23, 2012, and a supplemental
hearing on December 19, 2012. Tr. 42-50, 51-71. Plaintiff was
represented by an attorney at both hearings. At the July 23,
2012, hearing an ME and a VE testified. At the December 19,
2012, hearing a VE testified. On January 23, 2013, the ALJ
issued a decision on remand in which he found Plaintiff was
not disabled and, therefore, was not entitled to benefits.
Tr. 19-34. On April 14, 2014, the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review and Plaintiff appealed the
matter to the United States District Court.
April 15, 2015, United States Judge Garr M. King entered a
Judgment of Remand in which he remanded the matter to the ALJ
to (1) reevaluate Plaintiff's mental impairments; (2)
further evaluate Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(RFC); (3) "further evaluate the medical opinions,
including but not limited to the opinions by Robert Davis,
Ph.D., Joshua J. Boyd, Psy.D., and Bill Henning, Ph.D., and
provide adequate rationale for either accepting or rejecting
the opinions"; (4) reconsider Plaintiff's
credibility; and (5) reevaluate Steps Four and Five.
McClure v. Colvin, No. 3:14-CV-00973-KI, Docket No.
held a hearing on remand on January 5, 2016. Tr. 1607-29. At
the hearing Plaintiff was represented by an attorney and an
ME and a VE testified. On January 25, 2016, the ALJ issued a
decision on remand in which he found Plaintiff is not
disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to benefits. Tr.
1119-36. The record does not reflect the Appeals Council
assumed jurisdiction over this matter after the ALJ's
decision. The ALJ's decision, therefore, became the final
decision of the Commissioner on January 25, 2016.
See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.984, 416.1484.
was born on November 18, 1983, and was 32 years old at the
time of the final hearing. Tr. 107. Plaintiff has a
tenth-grade education. Tr. 55. Plaintiff has past relevant
work experience as a customer-service representative. Tr.
1135. Plaintiff alleges disability due to sarcoidosis,
depression, arthritis, stomach pain, "heart rate, "
hiatal hernia, "fatty liver, " kidney cysts, and
dizziness. Tr. 320.
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. 1124-25, 1127-34.
initial burden of proof rests on the claimant to establish
disability. Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1110
(9thCir. 2012). To meet this burden, a claimant
must demonstrate her 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.
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.
Commfr 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. Comrn.'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) .
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, 1051
(9th Cir. 2012). The court may not substitute its
judgment for that of the Commissioner. Widmark v.
Barnhart, 454 F.3d 1063, 1070 (9th Cir.