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Dorene Campos v. Michael J. Astrue

July 12, 2012

DORENE CAMPOS, 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

Dorene Campos filed this action on March 30, 2011. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before the magistrate judge on April 12 and 18, 2011. (Dkt. Nos. 7, 9.) On March 15, 2012, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("JS") that addressed the disputed issue. 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 April 11, 2003, Campos filed an application for supplemental security income benefits, alleging an onset date of July 1, 2000. Administrative Record ("AR") 73-76. The application was denied. AR 38-41. On December 8, 2004, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") conducted a hearing at which Campos and a vocational expert ("VE") testified. AR 329-48. On May 23, 2005, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 32-37. On March 3, 2006, the Appeals Council issued an order vacating the ALJ's decision and remanding the matter for further review. AR 69-72.

On September 21, 2006, a second ALJ conducted a hearing, at which Campos and a VE testified. AR 349-69. On October 3, 2006, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 14-22. On February 23, 2007, the Appeals Council denied the request for review. AR 5-7.

On April 4, 2007, Campos filed a complaint in this court. On April 15, 2008, this court issued a remand order. AR 402-09. On May 27, 2008, pursuant to the remand order, the Appeals Council vacated the ALJ's decision and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with this court's order. AR 401.

On September 10, 2009, the ALJ conducted a hearing at which Campos and a VE testified. AR 556-73. On November 13, 2009, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 380-94. On January 24, 2011, the Appeals Council denied the request for review. AR 370-72. This action followed.

II.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this court reviews the Commissioner's decision to deny benefits. The decision will be disturbed only if it is not supported by substantial evidence, or if 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).

"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 the conclusion." Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523. In 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. When the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the court must defer to the Commissioner's decision. Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523.

III.

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