United States District Court, D. Oregon
E. HAAPALA, JR. Attorney for Plaintiff
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney District of Oregon JANICE
E. HEBERT Assistant United States Attorney SARAH L. MARTIN
Attorneys for Defendant
OPINION AND ORDER
Malcolm F. Marsh United States District Judge
Johanna Wayne Imel seeks judicial review of the final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying her
application for a period of disability and disability
insurance benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401 -403. This
Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
For the reasons that follow, the Commissioner's decision
AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
protectively filed her application for a period of disability
and DIB benefits on April 9, 2012, alleging disability
beginning March 15, 2008, due to Crohn's disease and
colitis, cervical and lumbar spondylosis, right rotator cuff
tear, and depression. Tr. Soc. Sec. Admin. R.
("Tr.") at 158. ECF No. 10. Plaintiffs claims were
denied initially and upon reconsideration. Plaintiff filed a
request for a hearing before an administrative law judge
("ALJ"). The ALJ held a hearing on August 14, 2014,
at which Plaintiff appeared with her attorney and testified.
A vocational expert, Frank Lucas, also appeared at the
hearing and testified. On August 29, 2014, the ALJ issued an
unfavorable decision. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiffs
request for review, and therefore, the ALJ's decision
became the final decision of the Commissioner for purposes of
was born in 1959, and was 48 years old on the alleged onset
of disability date and 54 on her date last insured. Plaintiff
did not complete high school, but has received her GED. Tr.
40, 159. Plaintiff has past relevant work as a sales clerk,
convenience store clerk, cashier, babysitter, and woodwork
shop hand. Tr. 27, 40-43.
ALJ'S DISABILITY ANALYSIS
Commissioner has established a five-step sequential process
for determining whether a person is disabled. Bowen v.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 140 (1987); 20 C.F.R.
§404.1520. Each step is potentially dispositive. The
claimant bears the burden of proof at steps one through four.
See Valentine v. Commissioner Soc. Sec. Admin., 574
F.3d 685, 689 (9th Cir. 2009); Tackett v. Apfel, 180
F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999). At step five, the burden
shifts to the Commissioner to show that the claimant can do
other work which exists in the national economy. Hill v.
Astrtie, 698 F.3d 1153, 1161 (9th Cir. 2012).
found that Plaintiff meets the insured status requirements
through December 31, 2013. At step one, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since her alleged onset of disability through her date last
insured. At step two, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the
following severe impairments: spinal stenosis and
degenerative disc disease of the cervical and lumbar spine;
cervical radiculitis; sciatica; lumbago; right rotator cuff
tear; fibromyalgia; and depression. At step three, the ALJ
found that Plaintiffs impairments, or combination of
impairments, did not meet or medically equal a listed
assessed Plaintiff with a residual functional capacity
("RFC") to perform light work with additional
lifting and/or carrying no more than 20 pounds occasionally
and 10 pounds frequently; standing and/or walking about six
hours of an eight-hour workday, and sitting about six hours
of an eight-hour workday, and sitting about six hours of an
eight-hour workday, with normal breaks. She must never climb
ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. [Plaintiff], a right hand
dominant individual, is limited to no overhead reaching with
the right upper extremity. She is limited to no more than
frequent handling and fingering with the right upper
extremity. [Plaintiff] must avoid even moderate exposure to
operational control of moving machinery, hazardous machinery,
and unprotected heights. She can understand and cany out
four, the AL J found that Plaintiff is unable to perform her
past relevant work. At step five, the ALJ found that
considering Plaintiffs age, education, work experience, and
residual functional capacity, jobs exist in significant
numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff can perform,
including such representative occupations as: counter clerk,
survey worker, marking clerk, or bakery helper. Accordingly,
the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff has not been under a
disability under the Social Security Act from March 15, 2008
through December 31, 2013.