United States District Court, D. Oregon
MERRILL SCHNEIDER Schneider Kerr & Robichaux P.O.
Attorneys for Plaintiff.
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney. RENATA GOWIE Assistant
United States Attorney DAVID MORADO Regional Chief Counsel
MICHAEL S. HOWARD Social Security Administration Office of
the General Counsel Attorneys for Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
J. BROWN UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE.
Marple Alton seeks judicial review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) in
which she denied Plaintiff's applications for
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Disability Insurance
Benefits (DIB) under Titles XVI and II of the Social Security
matter is now before the Court on Plaintiff's Complaint
in which she seeks review of the Commissioner's decision
and the Commissioner's Motion to Remand (#18) for further
administrative proceedings on the ground that the
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) erred at Step Five.
a review of the record, the Court REVERSES
the Commissioner's decision, DENIES the
Commissioner's Motion to Remand for further
administrative proceedings, and REMANDS this
matter pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)
for the immediate calculation and award of benefits.
filed her applications for SSI and DIB on October 9, 2013.
Tr. 277, 279. Plaintiff alleged a disability onset date
of August 10, 2013. Her applications were denied initially
and on reconsideration. An ALJ held a hearing on May 13,
2016. Tr. 39-71. At the hearing Plaintiff and a vocational
expert (VE) testified. Plaintiff was represented by an
16, 2016, the ALJ issued an opinion in which he found
Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to
benefits. Tr. 17-33. On November 15, 2016, that decision
became the final decision of the Commissioner when the
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review.
Tr. 1-7. See Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07
was born on July 19, 1953. Tr. 277. Plaintiff was 62 years
old at the time of the hearing. Plaintiff has a GED. Tr. 77.
Plaintiff has past relevant work experience as a
“material expeditor and expeditor.” Tr. 31.
alleges disability due to depression, high blood pressure,
sleep apnea, bipolar disorder, and history of a stroke. Tr.
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. 23-24, 27-31.
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, 1051
(9th Cir. 2012). The court may not substitute its
judgment for that of the Commissioner. Widmark v.
Barnhart, 454 F.3d 1063, 1070 (9th Cir.
The Regulatory Sequential Evaluation
One the claimant is not disabled if the Commissioner
determines the claimant is engaged in substantial gainful
activity. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(I),
416.920(a)(4)(I). See also Keyser ...