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Haskin v. Berryhill

United States District Court, D. Oregon

January 30, 2018

CALVIN D. HASKIN, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,[1] Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          GEORGE J. WALL Law Offices of George J. Wall Attorney for Plaintiff.

          BILLY J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney JANICE E. HEBERT Assistant United States Attorney MICHAEL W. PILE Acting Regional Chief Counsel JORDAN D. GODDARD Special Assistant United States Attorney Social Security Administration Attorneys for Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          ANNA J. BROWN UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Calvin Dwayne Haskin seeks judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) in which he denied Plaintiff's applications for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. This Court has jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's final decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         For the reasons that follow, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Commissioner and DISMISSES this matter.

         ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

         Plaintiff protectively filed his application for SSI benefits on January 7, 2013. Tr. 19.[2] Plaintiff alleges a disability onset date of January 2, 1982. Tr. 19. Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a hearing on January 27, 2015. Tr. 19, 37-58. Plaintiff and a vocational expert (VE) testified. Plaintiff was represented by an attorney at the hearing.

         On June 2, 2015, the ALJ issued an opinion in which he found Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to benefits. Tr. 19-32. On July 13, 2015, Plaintiff requested review by the Appeals Council. Tr. 14. On November 15, 2016, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request to review the ALJ's decision, and the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner. Tr. 1-4. See Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000).

         On January 4, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this Court seeking review of the Commissioner's decision.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was born on May 26, 1957. Tr. 31. Plaintiff was fifty-seven years old at the time of the hearing. Plaintiff obtained a GED. Tr. 218, 283. The ALJ found Plaintiff does not have any past relevant work experience. Tr. 31.

         Plaintiff alleges disability due to schizoaffective disorder/depression. Tr. 69.

         Except as 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. 21-30.

         STANDARDS

         The initial burden of proof rests on the claimant to establish disability. Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1110 (9th Cir. 2012). To meet this burden, a claimant must demonstrate his 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. 2001)).

         The 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, ...


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