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Bailey v. Astrue

March 22, 2010

CARL BAILEY, 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*fn1 now rules as follows with respect to the disputed 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 lay witness statement;

2. Whether the ALJ properly considered the consultative examiner's opinion;

3. Whether the ALJ properly considered the Plaintiff's residual functional capacity ("RFC");

4. Whether the ALJ properly considered the treating clinician's opinion; and

5. Whether the ALJ posed a complete hypothetical. (JS at 2.)

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's Findings

The ALJ found that Plaintiff had the severe impairments of pancreatitis, secondary to alcohol abuse; depressive disorder, secondary to alcohol abuse; musculoskeletal impairments involving the lumbar and cervical spine; and hypertension. (Administrative Record ("AR") at 10.) He found Plaintiff had the RFC to perform light work, except for work requiring greater than occasional postural activities and no work requiring the use of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; work around dangerous unguarded moving machinery; and work at unprotected heights. (Id. at 11.) Plaintiff could also perform light work limited to object orientation and requiring "no intense interpersonal contact with others." (Id.) The ALJ concluded Plaintiff could not perform his past relevant work as a carpet cleaner but that ...


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