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Steven Allen v. Michael J. Astrue

January 23, 2012

STEVEN ALLEN, 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

MEMORANDUM OPINION; ORDER

The Court now rules as follows with respect to the disputed issues listed in *fn1 the Joint Stipulation ("JS").*fn2

I. DISPUTED ISSUE

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, the disputed issues raised by Plaintiff as the grounds for reversal and/or remand are as follows:

1. Whether the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") presented a complete hypothetical question to the vocational expert ("VE");

2. Whether the ALJ gave sufficient consideration to the disability finding by the Veterans' Administration ("VA"); and

3. Whether the ALJ gave sufficient consideration to the opinions of Plaintiff's treating physician.

(JS at 5.)

II. 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).

III. DISCUSSION

A. The ALJ's Findings.

The ALJ found that Plaintiff has the following severe combination of impairments: degenerative disc disease of the cervical and lumbar spines with chronic strains, a history of right shoulder impingement syndrome with surgery, and a depressive disorder. (AR at 19.)

The ALJ further found that Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform light work that does not involve forceful pushing or pulling with the right dominant upper extremity or more than simple, repetitive tasks. (Id. at 20.) Relying on the testimony of the VE, the ALJ found that Plaintiff could perform his past relevant work as a file clerk (Dictionary of Occupational Titles ("DOT") No. 206.387-034), in addition to ...


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