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Margaret Mada v. Michael J. Astrue

July 11, 2012

MARGARET MADA, 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*fn1 issue raised in the Joint Stipulation ("JS").*fn2

I.DISPUTED ISSUES

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, the disputed issue raised by Plaintiff as the ground for reversal and/or remand is whether the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") complied with this Court's remand orders regarding the evaluation of Dr. Hirsch's opinions. (JS at 3.)

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. Summary of the Case.

On December 2, 2004, Plaintiff filed an application for a period of disability, disability insurance benefits, and Supplemental Security Income benefits, alleging the onset of disability commencing March 20, 2002. (AR at 62-64, 65-67.)

On March 15, 2005, the Commissioner denied the applications for benefits. (Id. at 39-42, 43-47.) Plaintiff sought reconsideration of that determination. (Id. at 54.) On May 26, 2005, the Commissioner denied the request for reconsideration. (Id. at 55-59.) Plaintiff then filed a request for a hearing before an ALJ. (Id. at 60.)

On February 6, 2007, the ALJ presided over the hearing, and took testimony from Plaintiff and a vocational expert ("VE"). (Id. at 484-526.) On February 27, 2007, the ALJ issued a decision to deny benefits. (Id. at 11-24.) Plaintiff*fn3 requested review of that decision. (Id. at 9.) On May 16, 2007, the Appeals Council denied the request for review. (Id. at 5-8.) Plaintiff then filed a civil action, seeking review of the Commissioner's final decision. On July 9, 2008, this Court reversed and remanded this matter for further administrative proceedings. (Id. at 661-71.)

On February 18, 2010, the ALJ presided over the hearing for the second time and took testimony from Plaintiff and a VE. (Id. at 689-707.) On March 11, 2010, the ALJ issued a decision to deny benefits. (Id. at 575-92.)

Plaintiff requested review of that unfavorable decision. (Id. at 571-74.) On October 19, 2011, the Appeals Council denied the ...


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