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Vincent J. Moore v. Michael J. Astrue

February 14, 2013

VINCENT J. MOORE, 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 issue listed in*fn1 the Joint Stipulation ("JS"). *fn2

I. DISPUTED ISSUE

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") properly considered Plaintiff's testimony. (JS at 4.)

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." Perales, 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. The ALJ's Findings.

The ALJ found that Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: chronic left shoulder pain with impingement secondary to torn rotator cuff, hypertension, obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ("COPD"), hepatitis C, and edema. (Administrative Record ("AR") at 24.)

The ALJ concluded that Plaintiff retains the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform a range of light work with the following limitations: lift and/or carry twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently; stand and/or walk six hours of an eight-hour workday with normal breaks; sit for six hours of an eight-hour workday, with normal breaks; occasionally bend, stoop, crawl, balance, and climb ramps and stairs; never climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; never raise his left upper extremity above shoulder level; avoid unprotected heights, excessive hot or cold temperature change, and excessive exposure to air pollution; and have only occasional interaction with co-workers, supervisors, and the public. (Id. at 25.)

To determine the extent to which Plaintiff's limitations eroded his ability to perform the unskilled light occupational base, the ALJ asked the vocational expert ("VE") whether jobs exist in the national economy for an individual with Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC. (Id. at 21.) Based on the testimony of the VE, the ALJ determined Plaintiff could make a successful adjustment to other work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy such as toy assembler (Dictionary of Occupational Titles ("DOT") No. 731.678-034; and cleaner II (DOT No. 323.687-014). (AR at 29.) Thus, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff has not been under a disability as defined by the Social Security Act. (Id.)

B. The ALJ Properly Evaluated Plaintiff's Credibility.

Plaintiff asserts that the ALJ failed to provide clear and convincing reasons for rejecting his subjective complaints, did not specifically identify the testimony he found not to be credible, and improperly relied only on the fact that the medical evidence failed to ...


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