United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
Michael McShane, United States District Judge.
December 6, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for
benefits, alleging disability as of February 1, 2010. Tr.
Following a December 21, 2016 hearing, the administrative law
judge (“ALJ”) determined Plaintiff was not
disabled under the Social Security Act. Tr. 23. Plaintiff
argues the ALJ erred in (1) rejecting the medical evidence
and (2) formulating a residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) that is not supported by substantial
evidence. This Court has jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). Because the
Commissioner's decision is based on proper legal
standards and supported by substantial evidence, the
Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.
reviewing court shall affirm the Commissioner's decision
if the decision is based on proper legal standards and the
legal findings are supported by substantial evidence in the
record. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Batson v. Comm'r of
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, we review the
administrative record as a whole, weighing both the evidence
that supports and that which detracts from the ALJ's
conclusion. Davis v. Heckler, 868 F.2d 323, 326 (9th
Cir. 1989). “If the evidence can reasonably support
either affirming or reversing, ‘the reviewing court may
not substitute its judgment' for that of the
Commissioner.” Gutierrez v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.
Admin., 740 F.3d 519, 523 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Reddick v. Chater, 157 F.3d 715, 720-21 (9th Cir.
Social Security Administration utilizes a five-step
sequential evaluation to determine whether a claimant is
disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520 & 416.920
(2012). The initial burden of proof rests upon the claimant
to meet the first four steps. If the claimant satisfies his
burden with respect to the first four steps, the burden
shifts to the Commissioner for step five. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520. At step five, the Commissioner must show that the
claimant is capable of making an adjustment to other work
after considering the claimant's residual functional
capacity (RFC), age, education, and work experience.
Id. If the Commissioner fails to meet this burden,
then the claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(a)(4)(v); 416.920(a)(4)(v). If, however, the
Commissioner proves that the claimant is able to perform
other work existing in significant numbers in the national
economy, the claimant is not disabled. Bustamante v.
Massanari, 262 F.3d 949, 953-54 (9th Cir. 2001).
alleged disability as of February 1, 2010. In a January 2014
function report, Plaintiff stated, “I have no strength
or coordination in hands fingers or arms, going out of joint
all the time curling up numb, going to sleep can't hardly
move them! Back neck are so bad if I try to do my work I
will be paralyzed in hospital.” Tr. 163. Plaintiff
alleged he had problems dressing because he “can't
hardly move arms or hands.” Tr. 165.
December 2016 hearing, the ALJ asked the Plaintiff what
happened in February of 2010-Plaintiff's alleged onset
date-that made it impossible to continue working:
A: Well, I-my arms had just been so bad off since about
'95 when I think they started having a problem. But I
worked till 2010 and I just literally couldn't do it
anymore at all. I just-
Q: What kept you from not doing it anymore? What?
A: Well, the-severe tendonitis in my arms. From my shoulders
to my fingertips. Along with the neck and the back and-you
know, knees and legs.
explained he worked in the automobile painting industry, and
it took a heavy toll on his body. In response to the
ALJ's question asking if Plaintiff considered looking for
less taxing work, Plaintiff stated, “I-no, I didn't
really. I didn't know anything else I could do other than
doing the-in the automobile trade.” Tr. 36. Plaintiff
stated “the severe tendonitis is the worst of it . . .
[from m]y shoulders to the fingertips.” Tr. 36-37.
Plaintiff stated his pain was so bad that he “can't
hardly sleep.” Tr. 37. The pain was 24 hours-a-day, and
Plaintiff could not even tie his shoes. Tr. 38.
finding Plaintiff less-than fully credible as to the extent
of his limitations, a finding Plaintiff does not challenge
here, the ALJ noted ...