United States District Court, D. Oregon
ELYSE S. POLSTON, Plaintiff,
Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.
KATHRYN TASSINARI MARK A. MANNING, Attorneys for Plaintiff
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney, RENATA GOWIE, Assistant
United States Attorney,
Michael W. Pile Acting Regional Chief Counsel Social Security
Administration, Attorneys for Defendant
OPINION AND ORDER
J. BROWN UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE
Elyse S. Polston seeks judicial review of a final decision of
the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA)
in which she denied Plaintiff's application for
Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security
Income (SSI) under Titles II and 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 an application for DIB and SSI on January 29, 2013,
alleging a disability onset date of October 1, 2011. Tr.
The application was denied initially and on reconsideration.
An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a hearing on June 23,
2015. Tr. 44-85. Plaintiff was represented by an attorney at
the hearing. Plaintiff and a vocational expert (VE)
issued a decision on July 27, 2015, in which he found
Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to
benefits. Tr. 17-30. Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 404.984(d),
that decision became the final decision of the Commissioner
on December 19, 2016, when the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review. Tr. 1-4. See Sims v.
Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000).
was born on August 10, 1989, and was 25 years old at the time
of the hearing. Tr. 209. Plaintiff completed high school. Tr.
223. Plaintiff previously worked at a call center dialing
telephones and performing general work in a kitchen. Tr. 223.
alleges disability due to morbid obesity and lymphedema. 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. 20-28
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 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. 2001)).
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.