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Richard Marshall v. Michael J. Astrue

December 3, 2012

RICHARD MARSHALL, 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 Richard Marshall filed this action on January 4, 2012. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before the magistrate judge on January 13 and 18, 2012. (Dkt. Nos. 8, 9.) On September 4, 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 remands this matter to the Commissioner for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

I.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Marshall filed applications for supplemental security income and child's disability benefits on May 20 and 23, 2008, respectively. Administrative Record ("AR") 10, 121-27. In both applications, he alleged a disability onset date of January 1, 2001. AR 10, 121, 125. The applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration. AR 10, 59-62. Marshall requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). AR 79-81. On May 17, 2010, the ALJ conducted a hearing at which Marshall and his mother testified. AR 41-58. On June 17, 2010, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 7-16. On November 29, 2011, the Appeals Council denied Marshall's request for review. AR 1-5. 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 ...


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