United States District Court, D. Oregon
ANTHONY R. A., Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
J. WALL Attorney for Plaintiff
J. WILLIAMS United States Attorney RENATA GOWIE Assistant
United States Attorney
MICHAEL W. PILE Acting Regional Chief Counsel MICHAEL S.
HOWARD Special Assistant United States Attorney Social
Security Administration Attorneys for Defendant
OPINION AND ORDER
J. BROWN, UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE
Anthony R. A. 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
26, 2015, Plaintiff protectively filed his application for
DIB and SSI benefits. Tr. 13, 207, 209.Plaintiff alleges
a disability onset date of September 8, 2019. Tr. 13, 219.
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on
reconsideration. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held a
hearing on August 16, 2017. Tr. 32-58. Plaintiff and a
vocational expert (VE) testified at the hearing. Plaintiff
was represented by an attorney at the hearing.
November 1, 2017, the ALJ issued an opinion in which she
found Plaintiff is not disabled and, therefore, is not
entitled to benefits. Tr. 13-25. Plaintiff requested review
by the Appeals Council. On Jun 25, 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. 1-3. See Sims v.
Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000).
August 23, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this Court
seeking review of the Commissioner's decision.
was born on January 12, 1965. Tr. 23, 207. Plaintiff was 49
years old on his alleged disability onset date. Tr. 23.
Plaintiff has a high-school education and attended junior
college for two semesters. Tr. 23, 39. Plaintiff has past
relevant work experience as a box machine operator. Tr. 23.
alleges disability due to chronic neck and shoulder pain;
myofascial pain syndrome; and degeneration in the lumbar
spine. Tr. 41, 59-60.
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. 19-22.
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 "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, 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 "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 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).
The Regulatory ...