United States District Court, D. Oregon
KATHLEEN M. KISLICKA, Plaintiff,
Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.
RICHARD F. MCGINTY McGinty & Belcher, PC Attorneys for
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney RENATA GOWIE Assistant
United States Attorney MICHAEL W. PILE Acting Regional Chief
Counsel LISA GOLDOFTAS Special Assistant United States
Attorney Social Security Administration Attorneys for
OPINION AND ORDER
J. BROWN, UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE
Kathleen M. Kislicka 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) under
Title II of the Social Security Act.
reasons that follow, the Court AFFIRMS the
decision of the Commissioner and DISMISSES
filed an application for DIB on November 9, 2012, alleging a
disability onset date of February 22, 2011. Tr.
171.The application was denied initially and on
reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a
hearing on June 16, 2015. Tr. 41-81. Plaintiff was
represented at the hearing. Plaintiff and a vocational expert
issued a decision on July 28, 2015, in which she found
Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to
benefits. Tr. 15-40. Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 404.984(d),
that decision became the final decision of the Commissioner
on November 18, 2016, when the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review. Tr. 1-6. See Sims v.
Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000).
was born on January 2, 1961, and was 54 years old at the time
of the hearing. Tr. 171. Plaintiff has a GED. Tr. 46.
Plaintiff has past relevant work experience as a motel
cleaner, office helper, and laundry worker. Tr. 74.
alleges disability due to arthritis, bursitis, bulging discs,
and hernia. Tr. 82.
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. 28-33.
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.
ANALYSIS I. The Regulatory Sequential
Commissioner has developed a five-step sequential inquiry to
determine whether a claimant is disabled within the meaning
of the Act. Parra v. Astrue, 481 F.3d 742, 746
(9th Cir. 2007). See also 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520. Each step is potentially dispositive.
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). See also
Keyser v. ...