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Syed S. Kazmi v. Michael J. Astrue

January 6, 2012

SYED S. KAZMI, 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 COMMISSIONER

PROCEEDINGS

On December 8, 2010, Syed S. Kazmi ("Plaintiff or Claimant") filed a complaint seeking review of the decision by the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying Plaintiff's application for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits. The Commissioner filed an Answer on July 12, 2011. On October 28, 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 action dismissed with prejudice.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a 64 year old male who applied for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits on February 4, 2008, alleging a disability onset date of September 15, 2006. (AR 17.) Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since that date. (AR 19.)

Plaintiff's claims were denied initially on July 31, 2008. (AR 17.) Plaintiff filed a timely request for hearing, which was held before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") John D. Moreen on March 30, 2010, in Pasadena, California. (AR 17, 30-54.) Claimant appeared, was represented by counsel, and testified. (AR 17.) Medical expert Thomas J. Maxwell and vocational expert ("VE") Rheta B. King also appeared and testified at the hearing. (AR 17.)

The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on April 13, 2010. (AR 17-27.) The Appeals Council denied review on September 22, 2010. (AR 5-8.)

DISPUTED ISSUES

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

1. Whether the ALJ properly rejected the testimony of Syed Kazmi.

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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