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Taylor v. Astrue

November 24, 2009

LEANORA TAYLOR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Oswald Parada United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION; ORDER

The Court now rules as follows with respect to the disputed*fn1 issues listed in the Joint Stipulation ("JS").*fn2

I. DISPUTED ISSUES

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, the disputed issues which Plaintiff raises as the grounds for reversal and/or remand are as follows:

1. Whether the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") properly considered the totality of the medical evidence;

2. Whether the ALJ properly evaluated Plaintiff's credibility; and

3. Whether the ALJ properly evaluated the lay witness testimony.*fn3 (JS at 3-4.)

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court reviews the Commissioner's decision to determine whether the Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial evidence and whether the proper legal standards were applied. DeLorme v. Sullivan, 924 F.2d 841, 846 (9th Cir. 1991). Substantial evidence means "more than a mere scintilla" but less than a preponderance. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S.Ct. 1420, 28 L.Ed. 2d 842 (1971); Desrosiers v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 846 F.2d 573, 575-76 (9th Cir. 1988). Substantial evidence is "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson, 402 U.S. at 401 (citation omitted). The Court must review the record as a whole and consider adverse as well as supporting evidence. Green v. Heckler, 803 F.2d 528, 529-30 (9th Cir. 1986). Where evidence is susceptible of more than one rational interpretation, the Commissioner's decision must be upheld. Gallant v. Heckler, 753 F.2d 1450, 1452 (9th Cir. 1984).

III. DISCUSSION

A. The ALJ Properly Considered the Relevant Medical Evidence of Record

Plaintiff contends the ALJ failed to provide sufficient reasons for disregarding much of the relevant medical evidence of record. (JS at 4-7.)*fn4

1. Failure to Consider Plaintiff's Chronic Fatigue

Plaintiff maintains that the ALJ failed to properly consider her severe and chronic fatigue. (JS at 4-5.) Plaintiff contends that she consistently complained of severe fatigue, as documented in the medical record. (Administrative Record ("AR") at 410, 415, 453-54, 464, 495-96.)

However, after considering Plaintiff's subjective symptoms, the ALJ properly rejected the severity of Plaintiff's subjective complaints. (Id. at 333-34); see infra, Discussion Part III.B. Notably, the ALJ explicitly considered and rejected the findings of the medical examiners who documented Plaintiff's many complaints, including fatigue. (AR at 333-35.) There is also no indication in the record that Plaintiff suffered from a fatigue disorder, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, nor does Plaintiff assert fatigue as one her disabling conditions. In fact, Plaintiff's application for disability benefits makes no mention of fatigue. (Id. ...


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