United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. JONES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
(Plaintiff) seeks judicial review of the final decision by
the Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner) denying
his application for disability insurance benefits under Title
II of the Social Security Act (the Act). This court has
jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's decision
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). I AFFIRM the
was born in 1985. On July 4, 2014, Plaintiff drove an
all-terrain vehicle at high speed while intoxicated and
collided with a tree. Tr. 256, Tr. 294. The impact threw
Plaintiff, who was not wearing a helmet, twenty feet and
fractured both femurs, left forearm, cervical spine, and
facial bones, and caused a traumatic brain injury. Tr. 294,
Tr. 601. Plaintiff underwent multiple surgeries and was
hospitalized until August 25, 2014. Tr. 305.
August 2014, Plaintiff applied for disability insurance
benefits, alleging disability because of chronic pain and
cognitive problems. After the agency denied Plaintiffs claim,
Plaintiff received a hearing before an Administrative Law
Judge (ALJ) in March 2017. In June 2017, the ALJ issued his
decision, finding Plaintiff not disabled. Tr. 13-27. After
the Appeals Council denied Plaintiffs request for review,
Plaintiff timely filed this action seeking judicial review of
the denial of benefits.
reviewing court must affirm the Commissioner's decision
if it is based on proper legal standards and supported by
substantial evidence in the record. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g);
Lewis v. Astrue, 498 F.3d 909, 911 (9th Cir. 2007).
This court must weigh the evidence that supports and detracts
from the ALJ's conclusion and '"may not affirm
simply by isolating a specific quantum of supporting
evidence.'" Garrison v. Colvin, 759 F.3d
995, 1009-10 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting Lingenfelter v.
Astrue, 504 F.3d 1028, 1035 (9th Cir. 2007)). When the
evidence is susceptible to more than one rational
interpretation, the court must uphold the Commissioner's
decision if it is "supported by inferences reasonably
drawn from the record." Tommasetti v. Astrue,
533 F.3d 1035, 1038 (9th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted).
ALJ'S FINDINGS ON THE FIVE-STEP SEQUENTIAL
defines "disability" as the "inability to
engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any
medically determinable physical or mental impairment which
can be expected to result in death or 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). To determine
whether a claimant is disabled, the ALJ uses a five-step
sequential inquiry. See 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520, 416.920; Lounsburry v. Barnhart, 468 F.3d
1111, 1114 (9th Cir. 2006).
at step one, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since July 2014, the alleged
onset date. Tr.15.
two, the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: "fractures (legs, arm and cervical spine),
organic brain syndrome and chemical dependency." Tr. 15.
three, the ALJ found Plaintiff did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that met or medically equaled a
listed impairment. Tr. 16. The ALJ then assessed Plaintiffs
residual functional capacity (RFC), finding that Plaintiff
could "perform the full range of light work as defined
in 20 C.F.R. § 404.967(b) except the claimant can stand
and walk four hours in an eight-hour workday, and sit for six
hours in an eight-hour workday. The claimant can perform
simple, routine tasks requiring a reasoning level of 1 or
2." Tr. 18.
four, the ALJ found Plaintiff could not perform any past
relevant work. Tr. 25.
five, the burden of production shifts to the Commissioner to
show that the claimant can perform other work that exists in
significant numbers in the national economy, considering the
claimant's RFC, age, education, and work experience.
Bustamonte v. Massanari, 262 F.3d 949, 953-54 (9th
Cir. 2001); Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1100
(9th Cir. 1999). Here, based on the testimony of a vocational
expert, the ALJ found Plaintiff could perform jobs that exist
in significant numbers in the national economy, including the
representative occupations of photocopy machine operator;
office helper; and assembler, small products I. Tr. 26. The
ALJ therefore found Plaintiff had not been disabled from July
2014 until June 2017, the date of the ALJ's decision.
argues that the ALJ erred in (1) not giving proper weight to
the medical opinions of Sushanth Nayak, M.D., and William
McConochie, Ph.D.; and (2) failing to provide clear and