United States District Court, D. Oregon
ROBIN M. HOLMES, Plaintiff,
Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.
SHERWOOD J. REESE DREW L. JOHNSON Drew L. Johnson, P.C.
Attorneys for Plaintiff
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney RENATA GOWIE Assistant
United States Attorney MICHAEL W. PILE Acting Regional Chief
Counsel THOMAS M. ELSBERRY Special Assistant United States
Attorney Social Security Administration Attorneys for
OPINION AND ORDER
J. BROWN, United States Senior District Judge.
Robin M. Holmes seeks judicial review of a final decision of
the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA)
in which she denied Plaintiff's application 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.
reasons that follow, the Court AFFIRMS the
decision of the Commissioner and DISMISSES
filed applications for Disability Insurance Beneficts (DIB)
and SSI on July 24, 2012, and alleged a disability onset date
of December 12, 2003. Tr. 301-06. His applications were denied
initially and on reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge
(ALJ) held a hearing on October 16, 2015. Tr. 55-83. At the
hearing Plaintiff withdrew his application for DIB and
amended his onset date to July 24, 2012. Tr. 59-60. Plaintiff
and a vocational expert (VE) testified at the hearing, and
Plaintiff was represented by an attorney.
December 10, 2015, the ALJ issued an opinion in which she
found Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not
entitled to benefits. Tr. 14-27. On February 10, 2017, 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,
was born on January 22, 1962, and was 53 years old at the
time of the hearing. Tr. 301. Plaintiff has an Associates
Degree. Tr. 463. Plaintiff has past relevant work experience
as a sales clerk. Tr. 76.
alleges disability due to congestive heart failure,
depression, lower-back strain, obesity, and cognitive
defects. Tr. 321.
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. 17, 21-24.
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 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.
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.