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Ruiz v. Colvin

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

July 26, 2013

DAVID RUIZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ALICIA G. ROSENBERG, Magistrate Judge.

David Ruiz filed this action on October 3, 2012. (Dkt. No. 3.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before the magistrate judge on October 29 and November 7, 2012. (Dkt. Nos. 8-9.) On April 23, 2013, 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 reverses the decision of the Commissioner and remands for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

I.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On May 25, 2010, Ruiz filed applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits. Administrative Record ("AR") 22. Both applications alleged an onset date of December 15, 2008. The applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration. Id. Ruiz requested a hearing. On January 12, 2012, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") conducted a hearing at which Ruiz and a vocational expert ("VE") testified. AR 66-90. On March 13, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 19-36. On July 25, 2012, the Appeals Council denied the 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); 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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