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Ideker v. Colvin

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

August 7, 2013

JEANINE A. IDEKER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ALICIA G. ROSENBERG, Magistrate Judge.

Jeanine A. Ideker filed this action on January 2, 2013. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before the magistrate judge on January 15 and 16, 2013. (Dkt. Nos. 10-11.) On July 1, 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 affirms the decision of the Commissioner.

I.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On December 27, 2004, Ideker filed applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits. In both applications, Ideker alleged an onset date of September 4, 1994. Administrative Record ("AR") 62, 374. The applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration. AR at 62. Ideker requested a hearing. On February 12, 2007, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") conducted a hearing at which Ideker and a vocational expert ("VE") testified. AR 336-71. On April 24, 2007, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 59-70. On August 31, 2007, the Appeals Council denied the request for review. AR 52-55. On December 31, 2008, the Appeals Council declined to reopen its decision after receipt of additional evidence. AR 6-41.

On March 31, 2011, this court issued a decision reversing the decision of the Commissioner and remanding for further proceedings. AR 383-95. Specifically, the ALJ was to consider additional medical records later submitted to the Appeals Council to determine whether they affected his findings as to Ideker's credibility and residual functional capacity ("RFC"). AR 395. On August 18, 2011, the Appeals Council remanded the matter to an ALJ for further proceedings consistent with the court's order. AR 398. On June 28, 2012, the ALJ conducted a hearing at which Ideker, two medical experts and a VE testified. AR 555-72. On September 11, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 372-82. 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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