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Maria De La Cruz Yanes v. Michael J. Astrue

July 16, 2012

MARIA DE LA CRUZ YANES,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles F. Eick United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

PROCEEDINGS

Plaintiff filed a Complaint on November 1, 2011, seeking review of the Commissioner's denial of benefits. The parties filed a consent to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge on February 3, 2012.

Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on April 23, 2012. Defendant filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on May 23, 2012. The Court has taken both motions under submission without oral argument. See L.R. 7-15; "Order," filed November 4, 2011.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, a former single needle sewing machine operator, asserted disability since February 27, 2007, based primarily on alleged "T.K.R. [total knee replacement], lower back, hip, legs, knees, and heels pain, chondromalacia grade 4, fatigue, [and] osteoarthritis on right knee" (Administrative Record ("A.R.") 52, 141-47, 161, 173). The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") examined the medical record and heard testimony from Plaintiff and a vocational expert (A.R. 12-210, 217-703).

The ALJ found that Plaintiff suffers from severe "degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, diabetic neuropathy, and osteoarthritis of the right knee," but retains the residual functional capacity to perform "the full range of light work" (A.R. 14-20).*fn1 The ALJ found not credible Plaintiff's testimony regarding the alleged severity of her physical problems (A.R. 16-19). The ALJ also found that a person having the capacity to perform the full range of light work could perform Plaintiff's past relevant work as a single needle sewing machine operator, as that work is generally performed (A.R. 20 (adopting vocational expert testimony at A.R. 43 (describing exertional requirements for the job as "light"))). Accordingly, the ALJ denied disability benefits (A.R. 12, 20-21). The Appeals Council denied review (A.R. 1-3).

Plaintiff argues that the ALJ: (1) erred in rejecting the opinion of Plaintiff's treating rheumatologist; (2) erred in discounting Plaintiff's credibility; and (3) lacked substantial evidence to support the finding that Plaintiff can perform her past relevant work See Plaintiff's Motion, pp. 3-10.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under 42 U.S.C. section 405(g), this Court reviews the Administration's decision to determine if: (1) the Administration's findings are supported by substantial evidence; and (2) the Administration used correct legal standards. See Carmickle v. Commissioner, 533 F.3d 1155, 1159 (9th Cir. 2008); Hoopai v. Astrue, 499 F.3d 1071, 1074 (9th Cir. 2007). Substantial evidence is "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (citation and quotations omitted); see also Widmark v. Barnhart, 454 F.3d 1063, 1067 (9th Cir. 2006).

This Court "may not affirm [the Administration's] decision simply by isolating a specific quantum of supporting evidence, but must also consider evidence that detracts from [the Administration's] conclusion." Ray v. Bowen, 813 F.2d 914, 915 (9th Cir. 1987) (citation and quotations omitted); see Lingenfelter v. Astrue, 504 F.3d 1028 (9th Cir. 2007) (same). However, the Court cannot disturb findings supported by substantial evidence, even though there may exist other evidence supporting Plaintiff's claim. See Torske v. Richardson, 484 F.2d 59, 60 (9th Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 417 U.S. 933 (1974); Harvey v. Richardson, 451 F.2d 589, 590 (9th Cir. 1971).

DISCUSSION

After consideration of the record as a whole, Defendant's motion is granted and Plaintiff's motion is denied. The Administration's findings are supported by substantial evidence and are free from material*fn2 legal error. Plaintiff's contrary contentions are unavailing.

I. Substantial Evidence Supports the Conclusion Plaintiff Can Work.

Substantial medical and vocational evidence supports the ALJ's conclusion that Plaintiff is not disabled. The ALJ properly relied on this ...


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