United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. MCSHANE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Jennifer Martinez brings this action for judicial review of a
final decision of the Acting Commissioner of Social Security
denying her application for Supplemental for Title II
disability insurance benefits (DIB) and Title XVI
supplemental security income (SSI). The Court has
jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and
the Commissioner's decision is based on proper legal
standards and supported by substantial evidence, the
Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.
AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
filed an application for disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income on February 4, 2013, alleging
disability onset on January 2, 2012. Tr. 18. Both
applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration.
Id. A hearing was held on November 2, 2015. On
December 3, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff
was not disabled. Tr. 18-32. The Appeals Council denied the
request for review, making the ALJ's decision the final
decision of the Commissioner. Tr. 1. This appeal followed.
reviewing court shall affirm the Commissioner's decision
if the decision is based on proper legal standards and the
legal findings are supported by substantial evidence on the
record. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Batson v. Comm'r for
Soc. Sec. Admin., 359 F.3d 1190, 1193 (9th Cir. 2004).
“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 v. Astrue,
698 F.3d 1153, 1159 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Sandgathe v.
Chater, 108 F.3d 978, 980 (9th Cir. 1997)). To determine
whether substantial evidence exists, this Court reviews the
administrative record as a whole, weighing both the evidence
that supports and that which detracts from the ALJ's
conclusion. Martinez v. Heckler, 807 F.2d 771, 772
(9th Cir. 1986).
Commissioner's findings are upheld if supported by
inferences reasonably drawn from the record; if evidence
exists to support more than one rational interpretation, the
court must defer to the Commissioner's decision.
Batson, 359 F.3d at 1193; Aukland v.
Massanari, 257 F.3d 1033, 1034-35 (9th Cir. 2000) (when
evidence can rationally be interpreted in more than one way,
the court must uphold the Commissioner's decision). A
reviewing court, however, “cannot affirm the
Commissioner's decision on a ground that the
Administration did not invoke in making its decision.”
Stout v. Comm'r Soc. Sec. Admin., 454 F.3d 1050,
1054 (9th Cir. 2006) (citation omitted). A court may not
reverse an ALJ's decision on account of an error that is
harmless. Id. at 1055-56. “[T]he burden of
showing that an error is harmful normally falls upon the
party attacking the agency's determination.”
Shinseki v. Sanders, 556 U.S. 396, 409 (2009).
need not discuss all evidence presented, but must explain why
significant probative evidence has been rejected. Stark
v. Shalala, 886 F.Supp. 733, 735 (D. Or. 1995). See
also Howard ex rel. Wolff v. Barnhart, 341 F.3d 1006,
1012 (9th Cir. 2003) (in interpreting the evidence and
developing the record, the ALJ need not discuss every piece
Social Security Administration uses a five step sequential
evaluation to determine whether a claimant is disabled. 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520; 416.920. The initial burden of
proof rests upon the claimant to meet the first four steps.
If claimant satisfies his or her burden with respect to the
first four steps, the burden shifts to the Commissioner at
step five. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520. At step five, the
Commissioner's burden is to demonstrate the claimant is
capable of making an adjustment to other work after
considering the claimant's residual functional capacity,
age, education, and work experience. Id.
one of the sequential analysis, the ALJ found that Plaintiff
had not engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA) since
the alleged onset date. Tr. 20. At step two, the ALJ found
Plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments:
osteoarthritis, obesity, bipolar disorder, diabetes mellitus,
fibromyalgia, anxiety disorder not otherwise specified, and
depressive disorder not otherwise specified. Id. At
step three, the ALJ found that none of Plaintiff's
impairments, alone or in combination, met or medically
equaled one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 1. Between steps three and four, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity to
perform sedentary work as carry 10 pound occasionally and
less than 10 pounds frequently; stand or walk for about two
hours in an eight-hour workday and can sit for about six
hours in an eight-hour workday. Plaintiff can perform work
that does not require her to climb ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds. She can occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl,
and climb ramps or stairs. Plaintiff can perform simple
routine, repetitive tasks. Tr. 23.
four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is unable to perform her
past relevant work because of her RFC's non-exertional
limitations. Tr. 30. The ALJ then determined that there were
jobs that Plaintiff was capable of performing that existed in
significant numbers in the national economy, specifically