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Cruz Villa v. Michael J. Astrue

July 11, 2012

CRUZ VILLA, 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 AND ORDER

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

I.

DISPUTED ISSUE

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, the sole disputed issue raised by Plaintiff as the ground for reversal and/or remand is whether the administrative law judge ("ALJ") properly resolved the conflict in the vocational evidence. (JS at 4.) 9

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 severe impairments of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes mellitus. (AR at 17.) The ALJ further found that Plaintiff suffers from mental depression but that it is not a severe impairment. (Id.) The ALJ found that Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform the full range of light work. (Id. at 21.) Specifically, the ALJ found that Plaintiff can lift and carry up to twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently, stand and walk up to six hours in an eight-hour day, sit up to six hours in an eight-hour day, and push and pull commensurate with her lifting ability. (Id.)

Relying on the testimony of the vocational expert ("VE"), the ALJ determined that Plaintiff is able to perform her past relevant work as a bus driver, as she actually performed it. (Id. at 25.) Thus, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff has not been ...


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