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Glenn v. Astrue

August 21, 2009

WILLIAM T. GLENN, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alicia G. Rosenberg United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

William T. Glenn, Jr., filed this action on August 15, 2007. On April 4, 2008, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("J.S.") that addressed the disputed issues. (Dkt. No. 27.)

On July 14, 2009, this case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Rosenberg. (Dkt. No. 29.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before Magistrate Judge Rosenberg on July 17 and 21, 2009. (Dkt. Nos. 30-31.) The Court has taken the matter under submission without oral argument. Having reviewed the entire file, the decision of the Commissioner is affirmed.

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On May 25, 2005, Glenn filed an application for disability insurance benefits. A.R. 10. On April 27, 2005, Glenn filed an application for supplemental security income benefits. Id. Both applications alleged an onset date of April 30, 2004. Id. The applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration. A.R. 19-20. An Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") conducted a hearing on November 27, 2006, at which Glenn, a medical expert and a vocational expert testified. A.R. 94-144. On December 21, 2006, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits.

A.R. 7-14. Glenn requested review. A.R. 5. On June 13, 2007, the Appeals Council denied the request for review. A.R. 2-4.

This lawsuit followed.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court reviews the Commissioner's decision to deny benefits. The decision will be disturbed only if it is not supported by substantial evidence, or if it is based upon the application of improper legal standards. Moncada v. Chater, 60 F.3d 521, 523 (9th Cir. 1995); Drouin v. Sullivan, 966 F.2d 1255, 1257 (9th Cir. 1992).

"Substantial evidence" means "more than a mere scintilla but less than a preponderance -- it is such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the conclusion." Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523. In determining whether substantial evidence exists to support the Commissioner's decision, the Court examines the administrative record as a whole, considering adverse as well as supporting evidence. Drouin, 966 F.2d at 1257. When the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the Court must defer to the Commissioner's decision. Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Disability

A person qualifies as disabled, and thereby eligible for such benefits, "only if his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national ...


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