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Zahra Motesharrei v. Michael J. Astrue

January 19, 2012

ZAHRA MOTESHARREI, 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 April 20, 2011, Zahra Motesharrei ("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 and Disability Insurance benefits. The Commissioner filed an Answer on July 26, 2011. On November 1, 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 50 year old female who applied for Social Security Disability and Disability Insurance benefits on July 19, 2008, alleging disability beginning July 17, 2006. (AR 11.) Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since that date. (AR 11.)

Plaintiff's claim was denied initially on October 28, 2008, and on reconsideration on November 28, 2008. (AR 11.) Plaintiff filed a timely request for hearing, which was held before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Kevin M. McCormick on April 28, 2010, in Orange, California. (AR 22-46.) Claimant appeared and testified at the hearing and was represented by counsel. (AR 11.) Medical expert Dr. Alanson A. Mason and vocational expert ("VE") Alan Boroskin also appeared and testified at the hearing. (AR 11.)

The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on June 19, 2010. (AR 11-18.) The Appeals Council denied review on March 3, 2011. (AR 1-4.)

DISPUTED ISSUE

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, the only disputed issue that Plaintiff is raising as a ground for reversal and remand is as follows: Whether the ALJ erred in failing to consider properly Plaintiff's testimony.

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 conclusion." Richardson, 402 U.S. at 401 (internal quotation marks 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 of the Soc. Sec. Admin., 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 ...


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