United States District Court, D. Oregon
CHERYL L. ALO, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.
KATHERINE EITENMILLER MARK A. MANNING Harder Wells Baron
& Manning Attorneys for Plaintiff
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney
E. HEBERT Assistant United States Attorney
MORADO Regional Chief Counsel
A. BODEN Special Assistant United States Attorney Social
Security Administration Attorneys for Defendant
OPINION AND ORDER
J. BROWN United States District Judge
Cheryl L. Alo 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
filed her applications for DIB and SSI on March 5, 2012. Tr.
149, 156. Plaintiff alleged a disability onset date
of July 31, 2008. Her applications were denied initially and
on reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a
hearing on January 21, 2014. Tr. 31-55. At the hearing
Plaintiff was represented by an attorney. Plaintiff and a
vocational expert (VE) testified at the hearing.
issued a decision on April 15, 2014, in which she found
Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to
benefits. Tr. 18-30. Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 404.984(d)
that decision became the final decision of the Commissioner
on December 7, 2015, when the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review. Tr. 3-6. See Sims v.
Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000).
was born on January 3, 1986, and was 28 years old at the time
of the hearing. Tr. 149. Plaintiff graduated from high
school. Tr. 35. Plaintiff has past relevant work experience
as a deli worker and produce clerk. Tr. 48. Plaintiff alleges
disability due to lymphedema in her lower extremities. Tr.
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. 21, 23-24.
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. Comm'r 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. Comm'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.
I. The Regulatory ...