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Bobby Willis v. Michael J. Astrue

April 27, 2011

BOBBY WILLIS, 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

CLERK, U.S. DISTRICT COURT

FILED

4-27-11

CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

MEMORANDUM OPINION; ORDER

I.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Bobby Willis ("Plaintiff"), appearing pro se, applied for Social Security Disability ("SSD") benefits, with a filing date on November 8, 2005. (Administrative Record ("AR") at 99-103.) On March 8, 2006, his application was denied. (Id. at 52.) He made a timely request for reconsideration, which was denied on November 9, 2006. (Id. at 53, 59.) On January 12, 2007, Plaintiff timely requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"), which was held on January 23, 2008. (Id. at 26-51, 65.) On March 12, 2008, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. (Id. at 15-25.) Plaintiff timely appealed the hearing decision to the Appeals Council. On April 30, 2010, the Appeals Council declined to review his case. (Id. at 1-3.) Thus, the ALJ's decision is the Commissioner's final decision in this matter.

On July 7, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Complaint seeking review in this Court of the Commissioner's decision denying Social Security benefits. (Dkt. No. 3.) On November 16, 2010, Defendant filed an Answer to the Complaint. (Dkt. No. 13.) On January 14, 2011, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. Nos. 18, 19 ("Plaintiff's MSJ").) On February 14, 2011, Defendant filed a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. No. 21 ("Defendant's MSJ").)

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties have consented to proceed before the United States Magistrate Judge. (See Dkt. Nos. 7, 25.) The decision in this case is made on the basis of the pleadings, the Administrative Record, the Motion for Summary Judgment, and the Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. In accordance with Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court has determined which party is entitled to judgment under the standards set forth in 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

II. DISPUTED ISSUES

As reflected in the cross-motions, the disputed issues which Plaintiff raises as the grounds for reversal and/or remand are as follows:

(1) Whether the ALJ properly considered Plaintiff's subjective complaints and credibility (Pl.'s MSJ at 6-8; Def.'s MSJ at 2)

(2) Whether the ALJ properly considered the opinions of Plaintiff's treating physician and chiropractor (Pl.'s MSJ at 6-8; Def.'s MSJ at

6); and (3) Whether the ALJ properly determined that Plaintiff was capable of performing other work (Pl.'s MSJ at 10; Def.'s MSJ at 8).

III. 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).

IV. DISCUSSION

A. The ALJ Failed to Properly Consider Plaintiff's Credibility.

Plaintiff contends that the ALJ improperly rejected his subjective complaints of impairment. (Dkt. No. 19 ("Willis Decl.") at 6.) The ...


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