Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Modesitt v. Astrue

September 21, 2010

CHRISTINE E. MODESITT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Mcdermott United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY PROCEEDINGS

On March 12, 2009, Christine E. Modesitt ("Plaintiff" or "Claimant") filed a complaint seeking review of the decision by the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying Plaintiff's application for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits. The Commissioner filed an Answer on June 16, 2009. On January 5, 2010, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("JS"). The matter is now ready for decision.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), both parties consented to proceed before the Magistrate Judge. After reviewing the pleadings, transcripts, and administrative record ("AR"), the Court concludes that the Commissioner's decision should be affirmed.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a 44 year old female who was found to have the medically determinable severe impairments of bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and substance addiction disorder. (AR 397.) Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 26, 2003, the application date. (Id.)

Plaintiff's claim for SSI benefits was denied initially (AR 33-36) and on reconsideration. (AR 38-41.) Plaintiff filed a written request for hearing (AR 42), which was held before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Philip E. Moulaison on February 18, 2005, in San Bernardino, California. (AR 344-369.) The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on March 25, 2005. (AR 23-32.) On April 11, 2005, Plaintiff filed a Request for Review of Hearing Decision. (AR 52.) The Appeals Council remanded the case for further proceedings on July 12, 2005. (AR 53-56.)

A supplemental hearing was conducted by ALJ Joseph D. Schloss on February 22, 2006. (AR 370-91.) On June 24, 2006, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. (AR 12-19.) On July 31, 2006, Plaintiff filed a Request for Review of Hearing Decision (AR 10), which was denied by the Appeals Council on September 15, 2006. (AR 7-9.)

On November 21, 2006, Plaintiff filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Case No. CV 06-1229-JWJ. On March 28, 2008, the District Court remanded the case to the Commissioner. (AR 416-438.) On May 17, 2008, the Appeals Council remanded the case to the ALJ. (AR 441.)

On August 14, 2008, a second supplemental hearing was held before ALJ Schloss. (AR 1179.) Plaintiff appeared and testified at the hearing. (AR 1193-1197.) Medical expert Miriam Sherman, M.D., and vocational expert ("VE") Sandra Fioretti also appeared and testified. (AR 1183-1193.) On November 18, 2008, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. (AR 392-401.) Thereafter, Plaintiff commenced the present action.

DISPUTED ISSUES

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, the disputed issues that Plaintiff raises as grounds for reversal are as follows:

1. Whether the ALJ complied with the District Court's remand order to consider Plaintiff's credibility under the proper legal standards?

2. Whether the ALJ properly considered the State agency findings?

3. Whether the ALJ properly considered the treating psychiatrist's opinion?

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

5. Whether the ALJ properly considered Dr. Multani's opinion?

6. Whether the ALJ posed a complete hypothetical question to the vocational expert?

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court reviews the ALJ's decision to determine whether the ALJ'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." Saelee v. Chater, 94 F.3d 520, 521-22 (9th Cir. 1996) (quoting Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)). Substantial evidence is "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson, 402 U.S. at 401 (internal quotations and citation omitted).

This Court must review the record as a whole and consider adverse as well as supporting evidence. Robbins v. Soc. Sec. Admin., 466 F.3d 880, 882 (9th Cir. 2006). Where evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the ALJ's decision must be upheld. Morgan v. Comm'r, 169 F.3d 595, 599 (9th Cir. 1999). "However, a reviewing court must consider the entire record as a whole and may not affirm simply by isolating a 'specific quantum of supporting evidence.'" Robbins, 466 F.3d at 882 (quoting Hammock v. Bowen, 879 F.2d 498, 501 (9th Cir. 1989)); see also Orn v. Astrue, 495 F.3d 625, 630 (9th Cir. 2007).

SEQUENTIAL EVALUATION

The Social Security Act defines disability as the "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or . . . can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A). The ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.