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Lenoir v. Astrue

October 7, 2010

SONYA LENOIR, 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 August 19, 2009, Sonya Lenoir ("Plaintiff" or "Claimant") filed a complaint seeking review of the decision by the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying Plaintiff's applications for both Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits. The Commissioner filed an Answer on January 15, 2010. On March 11, 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 this Magistrate Judge. After reviewing the pleadings, transcripts, and administrative record ("AR"), the Court concludes that the Commissioner's decision should be affirmed and the case dismissed with prejudice.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a 46 year old female who was found to have the medically determinable severe impairments of obesity, a history of gallbladder removal with residual pain, and a history of alcohol abuse with subsequent mood disorder. (AR 11.) Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 16, 2006, the alleged onset date. (AR 11.)

Plaintiff's claim for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income SSI benefits was denied initially on August 10, 2007, and on reconsideration on September 25, 2007. (AR 9.) Plaintiff requested a hearing, which was held before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Mason D. Harrell, Jr. on February 11, 2009, in San Bernardino, California. (AR 9.) The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on March 27, 2009. (AR 9-18.) The ALJ found that Plaintiff could perform light work with some limitations. (AR 12-16.) The ALJ then determined that, although Plaintiff was unable to perform her prior relevant work, there are jobs in the national economy that she can perform. (AR 16.) As a result, the Claimant has not been under a disability within the meaning of the Social Security Act from the alleged onset date through the date of decision. (AR 17.)

Plaintiff requested review of the hearing decision, which was denied by the Appeals Council on June 28, 2009. (AR 1.)

DISPUTED ISSUE

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, the only disputed issue that Plaintiff raises as a ground for reversal is as follows:

1. Whether the ALJ properly considered Plaintiff's subjective complaints and the subjective statements of Plaintiff's mother and properly assessed their credibility.

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 ...


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