United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. JONES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Scott McCleary appeals the Commissioner's decision
denying his concurrent applications for disability insurance
benefits and supplemental security income under Titles II and
XVI of the Social Security Act. The court has jurisdiction
under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). I AFFIRM the
alleged disability beginning February 1, 2012, due to pain in
the back, hip, and right knee. Admin. R, 23, 165, 172, 180,
223. The ALJ applied the sequential disability determination
process described in 20 C.F.R. sections 404.1520 and 416,
920, See Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U, S. 137, 140
(1987). The ALJ found McCleary's ability to perform basic
work activities adversely affected by obesity, mild
degenerative disc disease in the lumbar spine, osteoarthritis
in the right hip, and migraines. Admin. R, 26. The ALJ found
that, despite these impairments, McCleary retained the
residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform a
range of light work with limited climbing, limited postural
activities such as balancing, stooping, kneeling, and so
forth, and not even moderate exposure to workplace hazards.
Admin. R, 27.
vocational expert ("VE") testified that a person
having McCleary's age, education, work experience, and
RFC could perform the activities required in light, unskilled
occupations such as electronics worker, assembler of
electrical accessories, and bench assembler, which
represented approximately 245, 000 jobs In the national
economy. Admin. R. 30, 57-58. The ALJ concluded that McCleary
was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security
Act. Admin. R. 31.
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. Per ales, 402 U.S. 389,
401 (1971). Substantial evidence may be less than a
preponderance of the evidence. Rohbins 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). McCleary contends the ALJ
improperly evaluated his subjective symptoms and the opinion
of orthopedic surgeon Craig Mohler, M.D. McCleary contends
these errors led the ALJ to elicit testimony from the VE
based on assumptions that did not accurately reflect his
functional limitations and to erroneously conclude that he
was not disabled.
application, McCleary alleged that he suffered back pain, leg
pain, and hip pain since being hit by a car while walking in
1994. Admin. R. 196, 222. He alleged these impairments
worsened gradually until they became disabling in February
2012. Admin. R. 197. He said he could not work due to
constant pain in the back, hip, and right knee. Admin. R.
223. He could walk about two blocks before he needed to stop
and rest. Admin. R. 228.
administrative hearing, McCleary testified that limitations
in his ability to move due to back and joint pain prevented
him from working. His hip pain was gone after hip replacement
surgery in June 2014. His migraines, which he had experienced
since long before the alleged onset of disability, were
controlled by medication. Admin. R. 47, 49. He said he could
comfortably lift 40 to 50 pounds, but carrying as little as
five pounds was difficult. McCleary said he could walk about
one and a half blocks without pain, but had to stop to rest
for a few minutes every block or two. Admin. R. 46-47.
accepted that McCleary's obesity, mild degenerative disc
disease in the lumbar spine, osteoarthritis in the right hip,
and migraines adversely affected his ability to perform basic
work activities. Admin. R. 26. She found, however, that
McCleary failed to show that his pain was so intense and
persistent that it precluded him from engaging in work