United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
Aiken United States District Judge.
Tana J. seeks judicial review of the final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner")
denying her claim for Disability Insurance Benefits. This
Court has jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g),
1383(c). For the reasons below, the Commissioner's
decision is REVERSED and the case REMANDED for an award of
October 3, 2013, plaintiff applied for Disability Insurance
Benefits. Tr. 210. She alleged disability beginning October
1, 2012, due to complications from hysterectomy surgery,
chronic pelvic and abdominal pain, urinary and bowel pain,
stage III endometriosis, fibromyalgia, anxiety, and
depression. Tr. 80-81. After a hearing, the administrative
law judge ("ALJ") determined that Plaintiff was not
disabled under the Social Security Act. Tr. 37. The Appeals
Council denied review, making the ALJ's decision the
final decision of the Commissioner. This action followed,
STANDARD OF REVIEW
reviewing court shall affirm the decision of the Commissioner
if it is based on proper legal standards and the findings are
supported by substantial evidence in the record. 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g); Batson. v. Comm'r Soc. Sec.
Admin., 359 F.3d 1190, 1193 (9th Cir. 2004).
"Substantial evidence is 'more than a mere scintilla
but less than a preponderance; it is such relevant evidence
as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion."' Hill v. Astrue, 698 F.3d
1153, 1159 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Sandgathe v.
Chater, 108 F.3d 978, 980 (9th Cir. 1997)). To determine
whether substantial evidence exists, the district court must
review the administrative record as a whole, weighing both
the evidence that supports and detracts from the decision of
the ALJ. Davis v. Heckler, 868 F.2d 323, 326 (9th
Social Security Administration uses a five-step sequential
evaluation to determine whether a claimant is disabled. See
20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4), 416.920(a)(4). The
burden of proof fall to the claimant at steps one through
four, and with the Commissioner at step five. Id.;
Bustamante v. Massanari, 262 F.3d 949, 953-54 (9th Cir.
2001) (citing Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098
(9th Cir. 1999)). At step five, the Commissioner must show
that the claimant can adjust to other work after considering
the claimant's residual functional capacity
("RFC"), age, education, and work experience. 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(v), 416.920(a)(4)(v). If
the Commissioner fails to meet this burden, then the claimant
is disabled. Id. If, however, the Commissioner
proves that the claimant can perform other work existing in
significant numbers in the national economy, the claimant is
not disabled. Id.; see also Bustamante, 262 F.3d at
the ALJ found that plaintiff was not disabled. The ALJ first
determined that plaintiff met the insured status requirements
of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2018. Tr. 23.
At step one, the ALJ found that plaintiff had not performed
substantial gainful activity since October 1, 2012, her
alleged onset date. Id. At step two, the ALJ found
that plaintiff had the following severe impairments: pelvic
pain disorder of female genital organs, back pain with
radiculopathy, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and
post-traumatic stress disorder. Id. At step three,
the ALJ found that plaintiffs impairments or combination of
impairments did not meet or medically equal the severity of
one of the impairments listed in 20 C.F.R, Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1. Tr. 24-25.
proceeding the step four, the ALJ determined that plaintiffs
RFC allowed her to perform sedentary work with these
[Plaintiff] can lift 10 pounds occasionally and less than 10
pounds frequently. She can stand and walk for two hours in an
eight-hour day, and sit for six hours in an eight-hour day.
She can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, but never climb
ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She can occasionally crawl. She
must avoid concentrated exposure to vibrations. She can never
tolerate exposure to workplace hazards such as exposed moving
machinery and unprotected heights. She can perform simple,
routine tasks, and can have occasional contact with the
four, the ALJ found that plaintiff could not perform any of
her past relevant work. Tr. 30. At step five, the ALJ found
that based on plaintiffs age, education, work experience, and
RFC, jobs existed in significant numbers in the national
economy that plaintiff could sustain substantial gainful
employment despite her impairments. Tr. 31. Specifically, the
ALJ found that plaintiff could perform the representative
occupations of addresser and semiconductor wafer breaker.
Id. As a result, the ALJ concluded that plaintiff
was not disabled under the Act.
contends that the ALJ erred by improperly discounting the
opinions of plaintiffs treating physician and physical
therapist and plaintiffs subjective symptom testimony.