United States District Court, D. Oregon
W. BREWER, Attorney for Plaintiff
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney RENATA GOWIE Assistant
United States Attorney MICHAEL W. PILE Acting Regional Chief
Counsel KATHRYN A. MILLER Special Assistant United States
Attorney Attorneys for Defendant
OPINION AND ORDER
J. BROWN, UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE
Brian D. seeks judicial review of the final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA) in
which the Commissioner denied Plaintiff's applications
for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) under Title II of the
Social Security Act and 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).
reasons that follow, the Court AFFIRMS the
decision of the Commissioner and DISMISSES
February 26, 2015, Plaintiff protectively filed his
application for DIB and SSI benefits. Tr. 13. Plaintiff alleges
a disability onset date of September 11, 2015. Tr. 13.
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on
reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a
hearing on March 23, 2017. Tr. 13, 38-69. Plaintiff and a
vocational expert (VE) testified at the hearing. Plaintiff
was represented by an attorney at the hearing.
April 13, 2017, the ALJ issued an opinion in which he found
Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to
benefits. Tr. 28. Plaintiff requested review by the Appeals
Council. On September 25, 2017, 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. 1-3. See Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S.
103, 106-07 (2000).
November 29, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this Court
seeking review of the Commissioner's decision.
was born on November 17, 1973. Tr. 26. Plaintiff was 41 years
old on his alleged disability onset date. Tr. 26. Plaintiff
has a high-school education. Tr. 26. Plaintiff has past
relevant work experience as a bakery worker and
manager/assistant manager. Tr. 26.
alleges disability due to Asperger Syndrome, “back
issues, ” autism, and “right leg/knee.” Tr.
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. 16-25.
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 Ato 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, 459B60 (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 Arelevant 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 evaluating a claimant's testimony,
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. 2006).