United States District Court, D. Oregon
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney JANICE E. HEBERT Assistant
United States Attorney
MORADO Regional Chief Counsel LISA GOLDOFTAS Special
Assistant United States Attorney
OPINION AND ORDER
J. BROWN United States Senior District Judge.
Janet Fae Weaver seeks judicial review of a final decision of
the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA)
in which she denied Plaintiff's application for
Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) under Title 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 REVERSES the
decision of the Commissioner and REMANDS
this matter pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. §
405(g) for further administrative proceedings consistent with
this Opinion and Order.
filed an application for DIB on February 22, 2012, alleging a
disability onset date of April 30, 2011. Tr.
102.The application was denied initially and on
reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a
hearing on April 16, 2014. Tr. 41-97. Plaintiff was
represented by an attorney at the hearing. Plaintiff and a
vocational expert (VE) testified.
issued a decision on October 16, 2014, in which she found
Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to
benefits. Tr. 25-34. Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 404.984(d)
that decision became the final decision of the Commissioner
on May 16, 2016, when the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review. Tr. 1-7. See Sims v.
Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000).
was born on November 11, 1961, and was 52 years old at the
time of the hearing. Tr. 135. Plaintiff completed either
eighth, ninth, or tenth grade and received training as a
certified nurse assistant (CNA) and a certified medication
aide. Tr. 245. Plaintiff has past relevant work experience as
a CNA and certified medication aide. Tr. 32.
alleges disability due to fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety,
high blood pressure, and arthritis. Tr. 102.
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. 28, 30-32.
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, ...