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Carlos Quezada v. Michael J. Astrue

March 8, 2011

CARLOS QUEZADA, 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 June 24, 2010, Carlos Quezada ("Plaintiff" or "Claimant") filed a complaint seeking review of the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying Plaintiff's application for Social Security Disability Insurance ("SSDI") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits. The Commissioner filed an Answer on December 21, 2010. On February 25, 2011, 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 this case dismissed with prejudice.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a 50 year old male who was determined to have the medically determinable severe impairments of gout, osteoarthritis, chronic alcohol abuse, and depressive disorder. (AR 9.) Plaintiff alleged disability beginning May 1, 2004. (AR 7.)

Plaintiff's claim was denied initially on January 23, 2007, and on reconsideration on June 22, 1007. (AR 7.) He filed a timely request for hearing, which was held before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Joseph D. Schloss on August 27, 2008, in San Bernardino, California. (AR 7-12.) Claimant appeared and testified. (AR 7.) Medical expert Samuel Landau and vocational expert ("VE") Troy L. Scott also testified. (AR 7.) Claimant was represented by Attorney Bill LaTour. (AR 7.)

The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on October 7, 2008. (AR 7-12.) On October 10, 2008, Plaintiff filed a timely request for review. (AR 4.) The Appeals Council denied review on April 23, 2010. (AR 1-3.)

DISPUTED ISSUES

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, the disputed issues that Plaintiff is raising as grounds for reversal and remand are as follows:

1. Whether the ALJ's determination that Plaintiff is capable of performing past work as a warehouse worker is proper and consistent with the residual functional capacity.

2. Whether the ALJ properly considered the actual mental and physical demands of Plaintiff's past work as a warehouse worker.

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 free of legal error. Smolen v. Chater, 80 F.3d 1273, 1279 (9th Cir. 1996); see also DeLorme v. Sullivan, 924 F.2d 841, 846 (9th Cir. 1991) (ALJ's disability determination must be supported by substantial evidence and based on the proper legal standards).

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 ...


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