United States District Court, D. Oregon
J. WALL Law Office of George J. Wall Attorney for Plaintiff
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney RENATA GOWIE Assistant
United States Attorney MICHAEL W. PILE Acting Regional Chief
Counsel JOSEPH J. LANGKAMER Special Assistant United States
Attorney Social Security Administration Attorneys for
OPINION AND ORDER
J. BROWN UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE.
Monica Marie B. 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
April 10, 2014, Plaintiff protectively filed her application
for DIB and SSI benefits. Tr. 153, 310. Plaintiff alleges
a disability onset date of August 31, 2013. Tr. 153, 310.
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on
reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a
hearing on July 27, 2016. Tr. 153, 95-142. Plaintiff and a
vocational expert (VE) testified at the hearing. A
supplemental hearing was held on March 6, 2017. Tr. 153,
175-90. Plaintiff and another VE testified at this hearing.
Plaintiff was represented by an attorney at both hearings.
31, 2017, the ALJ issued an opinion in which she found
Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not entitled to
benefits. Tr. 153-65. Plaintiff requested review by the
Appeals Council. On April 15, 2018, 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. 1-4. See Sims v.
Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000).
30, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this Court seeking
review of the Commissioner's decision.
was born on October 12, 1979. Tr. 163, 310. Plaintiff was 33
years old on her alleged disability onset date. Tr. 163.
Plaintiff has at least a high-school education. Tr. 163.
Plaintiff has past relevant work experience as a medical
coder and "stores laborer." Tr. 163.
alleges disability due to bulging discs at ¶ 5-C6,
tendonitis in both elbows and hands, bi-lateral carpal
tunnel, hypermobile joint syndrome, fibromyalgia,
trigger-finger of the middle finger of both hands, and
Dupuytren's Syndrome. Tr. 202-03.
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. 159-162.
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. ...