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Ahmed Gabouri v. Michael J. Astrue

September 28, 2012

AHMED GABOURI, 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 Ahmed Gabouri filed this action on November 17, 2011. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before the magistrate judge on December 7 and 16, 2011. (Dkt. Nos. 8, 10.) On July 26, 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 November 18, 2008, Gabouri filed an application for disability insurance benefits alleging an onset date of March 28, 2008. AR 13. The application was denied. AR 13, 43. Gabouri requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). AR 48-49. On May 26, 2010, the ALJ conducted a hearing at which Gabouri and a vocational expert ("VE") testified. AR 188-207. On June 15, 2010, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 10-19. On August 30, 2011, the Appeals Council denied the request for review. AR 3-5. 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) (per curiam); 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. DISCUSSION

A. Disability

A person qualifies as disabled, and thereby eligible for such 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 Gabouri has the severe impairments of degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine and lumbar spine with lumbar disc protrusion. AR 15. His impairments do not meet a listing. Id. He has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform medium work, but is precluded from any work involving repetitive bending or stooping. AR ...


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