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Armik Davoodianes v. Michael J. Astrue

June 22, 2012

ARMIK DAVOODIANES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alicia G. Rosenberg United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Armik Davoodianes filed a complaint on July 1, 2011. (Dkt. No. 3.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before the magistrate judge on July 18 and July 29, 2011. (Dkt. Nos. 7, 9.) On March 7, 2012, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("JS") that addressed the disputed issues. The court has taken the matter under submission without oral argument.

Having reviewed the entire file, the court affirms the decision of the Commissioner.

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On March 13, 2008, Davoodianes filed applications for disability insurance and supplemental security income benefits, alleging an onset date of January 15, 2005. Administrative Record ("AR") 30, 152-61. The applications were denied. AR 30. An Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") conducted a hearing on December 17, 2009, at which Davoodianes and a vocational expert ("VE") testified. AR 54-94. On January 12, 2010, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 27-44. On April 19, 2011, the Appeals Council denied the request for review. AR 1-4.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this court has authority to review the Commissioner's decision to deny benefits. The decision will be disturbed only if it is not supported by substantial evidence or it is based upon the application of improper legal standards. Moncada v. Chater, 60 F.3d 521, 523 (9th Cir. 1995); Drouin v. Sullivan, 966 F.2d 1255, 1257 (9th Cir. 1992).

In this context, "substantial evidence" means "more than a mere scintilla but less than a preponderance; it is such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Vasquez v. Astrue, 572 F.3d 586, 591 (9th Cir. 2009) (citation and quotation marks omitted); Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523; see also Ryan v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 528 F.3d 1194, 1198 (9th Cir. 2008). When determining whether substantial evidence exists to support the Commissioner's decision, the court examines the administrative record as a whole, considering adverse as well as supporting evidence. Drouin, 966 F.2d at 1257. Where the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the court must defer to the decision of the Commissioner. Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Disability

A person is disabled and eligible for benefits, "only if his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy." Barnhart v. Thomas, 540 U.S. 20, 21-22, 124 S. Ct. 376, 157 L. Ed. 2d 333 (2003).

B. The ALJ's Findings

The ALJ found that Davoodianes had the severe impairment of "grade 3 hepatitis B." AR 33. He did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or equaled the severity of any impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. AR 34.

Davoodianes had the RFC to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(b)*fn1 and 416.967(b)*fn2 except that "he can only occasionally climb ladders, ropes and scaffolds and he would need to avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold and heat." AR 35. Davoodianes could not perform any past relevant work. AR 42. However, there were a significant number of jobs in the ...


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