United States District Court, D. Oregon
A. MANNING, Harder, Wells, Baron & Manning, P.C. Attorney
E. OSTERHOUT Osterhout Berger Disability Law, LLC Of
Attorneys for plaintiff Pro hac vice
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney District of Oregon
GOWIE Assistant United States Attorney
LU Special Assistant United States Attorney Office of the
General Counsel Social Security Administration Of Attorneys
OPINION AND ORDER
V. ACOSTA, Unites States Magistrate Judge
W. Delmonaco ("plaintiff) seeks judicial review of a
final decision by the Commissioner of Social Security
("Commissioner") denying his applications for
Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and
Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Titles
II & XVI of the Social Security Act ("Act").
This court has jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's
decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Based on a
careful review of the record, the Commissioner's decision
is reversed and this case remanded for further proceedings.
applied for DIB and SSI on May 20, 2013 and July 15, 2013,
respectively, alleging disability as of August 9, 2012, due
to aortic aneurysm, vertigo, and back pain. (Tr. 20, 91, 92.)
His applications were denied initially and upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 90-94.) A hearing convened on February
11, 2015, before an Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ"). (Tr. 37-70.) On May 11, 2015, the ALJ
issued a decision finding plaintiff not disabled. (Tr.
17-34.) Plaintiff timely requested review of the ALJ's
decision and, after the Appeals Council denied review,
plaintiff filed a complaint in this court. (Tr. 1-3.)
April 17, 1961, plaintiff was 51 years old on the alleged
onset date of disability and 54 years old on the date of the
hearing. (Tr. 72.) Plaintiff earned his GED in 1979. (Tr.
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. Hammock
v. Bowen, 879 F.2d 498, 501 (9th Cir. 1989). Substantial
evidence is "more than a mere scintilla. It means such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (citation and internal
quotations omitted). The court must weigh "both the
evidence that supports and detracts from the
[Commissioner's] conclusions." Martinez v.
Heckler, 807 F.2d 771, 772 (9th Cir. 1986). "Where
the evidence as a whole can support either a grant or a
denial, [a court] may not substitute [its] judgment for the
ALJ's." Massachi v. Astrue, 486 F.3d 1149,
1152 (9th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted).
initial burden of proof rests upon the claimant to establish
disability. Howard v. Heckler, 782 F.2d 1484, 1486
(9th Cir. 1986). To meet this burden, the claimant must
demonstrate an "inability to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment which can be expected ... to
last for a continuous period of not less than 12
months." 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A).
Commissioner has established a five-step sequential process
for determining whether a person is disabled. Bowen v.
Yuckert, 42 U.S. 137, 140 (1987); 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520. First, the Commissioner determines whether a
claimant is engaged in "substantial gainful
activity;" if so, the claimant is not disabled.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 140; 20 C.F.R. §
two, the Commissioner resolves whether the claimant has a
"medically severe impairment or combination of
impairments." Yuckert, 482 U.S. at 140-41; 20
C.F.R. § 404.1520(c). If not, the ...