United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. Jones United States District Judge
Isaac McGrew appeals the Commissioner's decision denying
his application for supplemental security income payments
under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. The court has
jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). I AFFIRM the
applied for supplemental security income alleging he became
disabled on January 1, 2010, due to borderline personality
disorder and anxiety. Admin. R. 66, 79, 166, 185. He alleged
these conditions caused him to have panic attacks, loss of
concentration, inability to understand or follow
instructions, and violent reactions when around others.
Admin. R. 40, 49, 190-191.
applied the sequential disability determination process
described in 20 C.F.R. § 416.920 and Bowen v.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 140 (1987). The ALJ found
McGrew's ability to perform basic work activities was
limited by anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, and
borderline personality disorder. Admin. R. 21. The ALJ found
that, despite these impairments, McGrew retained the residual
functional capacity ("RFC") to work at all levels
of exertion, limited to simple, repetitive, routine tasks
requiring no more than occasional interactions with
supervisors, coworkers, and others. Admin. R. 24. The
vocational expert ("VE") testified that a person
with McGrew's age, education, work experience and RFC
could perform the activities required in unskilled
occupations such as janitor, woodworking machine offbearer,
and laundry worker, which represent over two million, three
hundred thousand jobs in the national economy. Admin. R. 29,
60. The ALJ concluded that McGrew was not disabled within the
meaning of the Social Security Act. Admin. R.29.
district court must affirm the Commissioner's decision if
it is based on proper legal standards and the findings of
fact are supported by substantial evidence in the record as a
whole. Tommasetti v. Astrue, 533 F.3d 1035, 1038
(9th Cir. 2008). Substantial evidence is relevant evidence
that a reasonable person might accept as adequate to support
a conclusion. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389,
401 (1971). Substantial evidence may be less than a
preponderance of the evidence. Robbins v. Soc. Sec.
Admin., 466 F.3d 880, 882 (9th Cir. 2006). Under this
standard, the court must consider the record as a whole, and
uphold the Commissioner's factual findings that are
supported by inferences reasonably drawn from the evidence,
even if another interpretation is also rational.
Robbins, 466 F.3d at 882; Batson v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec. Admin., 359 F.3d 1190,
1193 (9th Cir. 2004); Andrews v. Shalala, 53 F.3d
1035, 1039 -40 (9th Cir. 1995).
plaintiff bears the burden of showing that the ALJ erred and
that any error was harmful. Mcleod v. Astrue, 640
F.3d 881, 886-87 (9th Cir. 2011). McGrew contends the ALJ
improperly evaluated his subjective symptoms, the opinion of
examining psychologist Jennifer Metheny, Ph.D., and the lay
witness statement of his former fiancee Savanna Ferguson.
McGrew contends these errors led the ALJ to improperly
conclude that he retained the capacity to work and was not
written application, McGrew alleged that he had a personality
disorder that caused him to react to other people with
excessive anger and high anxiety. Admin. R. 79-80, 166, 185.
He had difficulty containing his anxiety when around others
for extended periods. Admin. R. 186. He said he experienced
panic attacks and urges to act with physical violence when
around others. Admin. R. 190. These symptoms made it
difficult for him to complete tasks or understand
instructions when others are present. Admin. R. 190. At the
administrative hearing, McGrew testified that he could not
work because he could not be around other people without
erupting in violence. Admin. R. 40-42. He would not be able
to do even simple tasks, because he would start to shake and
shut down. Admin. R. 50.
believed that McGrew suffered from anxiety disorder,
depression, and a borderline personality disorder with
symptoms that made it difficult for him to work, particularly
around other people. He found, however, that McGrew's
symptoms were not so intense and persistent that they
precluded him from engaging in work limited to simple,
repetitive, routine tasks with only occasional interactions
with others. Admin. R. 24-25.
claimant produces objective medical evidence of an underlying
impairment that could reasonably be expected to produce the
symptoms alleged and no affirmative evidence of malingering
exists, the ALJ must assess the credibility of the
claimant's statements about the severity of symptoms. The
ALJ is not to engage in wide-ranging scrutiny of the
claimant's character, but to focus on the intensity and
persistence of his symptoms. Treviso v. ...