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Penrose v. Astrue

August 4, 2010

RONALD PENROSE, 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 relevant medical evidence of record; and

2. Whether the ALJ properly considered Plaintiff's subjective complaints and properly assessed Plaintiff's credibility.

(JS at 3.)

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, 1453 (9th Cir. 1984).

III. DISCUSSION

A. The ALJ's Findings

The ALJ found that Plaintiff has the severe impairment of a status post thoracic burst fracture at T12 without neurologic compromise, mild neck degeneration, and a history of carpal tunnel syndrome. (Administrative Record ("AR") at 10.) The ALJ also found that Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform light work and retained the capacity to lift and carry twenty pounds occasionally, ten pounds frequently; sit for six hours in an eight-hour work day; stand/walk for six hours in an eight-hour work day; with occasional postural limitations, occasional fine manipulative limitations bilaterally, and frequent gross manipulative limitations bilaterally. (Id. at 10-11.)The ALJ concluded that Plaintiff could perform his past relevant work as an outside delivery driver. (Id. at 13.) Thus, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled. (Id.)

B. Remand Is Warranted Due to the ALJ's Failure to Properly Consider the Opinions of Plaintiff's Treating Physicians

1. Background

Plaintiff contends that the ALJ failed to properly consider and give appropriate weight to the opinions of Plaintiff's treating physicians, Dr. Chen and Dr. Ianacone. (JS at 5, 7.) Plaintiff argues that the ALJ's summary rejection ...


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