United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
MALCOLM F. MARSH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Karen Marie Boyd 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, and
application for Supplemental Security Income
("SSI") disability benefits under Title XVI of the
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381-1383f. This
Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§
405(g) and 1383(c)(3). For the reasons that follow, the Court
affirms the Commissioner's decision.
AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
protectively filed her DIB and SSI applications on March 2,
2011, alleging disability beginning September 5, 2008, due to
intestinal, back and leg problems; headaches; nausea; and
dizziness. Tr. Soc. Sec. Admin. R. ("Tr.") 19, 61,
ECF No. 21. 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 July 25, 2013, at which Plaintiff appeared
with her attorney and testified. A vocational expert, Gary R.
Jesky, also appeared at the hearing and testified. On August
5, 2013, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. The Appeals
Council denied Plaintiffs request for review, and therefore,
the ALJ's decisions became the final decisions of the
Commissioner for purposes of review.
was born in 1964, and was 44 years old on the alleged onset
of disability date, and 49 years old at the time of the
ALJ's decision. Plaintiff completed ninth grade, did not
obtain a GED, has no vocational training, but can read,
write, add, and subtract. Tr. 36. Plaintiff has worked as a
supply clerk and delivery driver. Tr. 68, 291, 306. Plaintiff
meets the insured status requirements through December 31,
ALJ'S DISABILITY ANALYSIS
Commissioner has established a five-step sequential process
for determining whether a person is disabled. Bowenv.
Yuckert, 4&2U.S. 137, 140(1987);20C.F.R.
§§404.1520, 416.920. 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 that exists in the national
economy. Hill v. Astrtie, 698 F.3d 1153, 1161 (9th
one, the AL J found that Plaintiff has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since September 5, 2008. The ALJ
resolved the sequential evaluation at step two, finding that
there are no medical signs or laboratory findings to
substantiate the existence of a severe medically determinable
impairment. Thus, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff has not
been under a disability from September 5, 2008 through the
date of the decision.
who is proceeding pro se, contends the ALJ erred in
finding that she has no severe medically determinable
impairments at step two and erred in evaluating treatment
notes from Mummadi Rajasekhara, M.D.; Latha Radhakrishnan,
M.D.; Kevin P. Jones, D.O.; and Alan Savoy,
The Commissioner argues that the ALJ's decision is
supported by substantial evidence and is free of legal error.
Alternatively, the Commissioner contends that even if the ALJ
erred, Plaintiff has not demonstrated harmful error.
district court must affirm the Commissioner's decision if
the Commissioner applied proper legal standards and the
findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Berry v. Astrue, 622 F.3d
1228, 1231 (9th Cir. 2010). "Substantial evidence is
more than a mere scintilla but less than a preponderance; it
is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept
as adequate to support a conclusion." Hill, 698
F.3d at 1159 (internal quotations omitted);
Valentine, 574 F.3d at 690. The court must weigh all
the evidence, whether it supports or detracts from the
Commissioner's decision. Garrisonv. Colvin,
759F.3d995, 1009 (9th Cir. 2014); Martinez v.
Heckler, 807 F.2d 771, 772 (9th Cir. 1986). The
Commissioner's decision must be upheld, even if the
evidence is susceptible to more than one rational
interpretation. Batson v. Commissioner Soc. Sec.
Admin. , 359 F.3d 1190, 1193 (9th Cir. 2004). If the
evidence supports the Commissioner's conclusion, the
Commissioner must be affirmed; "the court may not
substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner."
Edhmdv. Massanari, 253 F.3d 1152, 1156 (9th Cir.
2001); Garrison, 759 F.3d at 1010.
ALJ Did Not Err at Step Two
two of the sequential process, the ALJ must determine whether
the claimant suffers from a "severe" impairment, /.
e., one that significantly limits his or her
physical or mental ability to do basic work activities.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 140-41; 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(c), 416.920(c). To show a severe medically
determinable impairment, the claimant must first prove the
existence of a physical or mental impairment by providing
medical evidence consisting of signs, symptoms, and
laboratory findings; the claimant's own statement of
symptoms alone will not suffice. 20 C.F.R. § §
404.1508, 416.908. A medically determinable impairment is an
impairment that results from anatomical, physiological, or
psychological abnormalities which are demonstrable by