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Fitz v. Colvin

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

September 4, 2013

SARA L. FITZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

OSWALD PARADA, Magistrate Judge.

The Court[1] now rules as follows with respect to the disputed issue listed in the Joint Stipulation ("JS").[2]

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") erred in relying on the testimony of the vocational expert ("VE") in finding that Plaintiff could perform her past work as a cashier. (JS at 4.)

II.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under 42 U.S.C. ยง 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." Richardson , 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 severe impairments of muscular ligamentous strain of the lumbar and cervical spine with no evidence of radiculopathy or myeolopathic symptoms; a disorder of the upper extremity of unknown etiology with tremors; and headaches. (Administrative Record ("AR") at 22.)

The ALJ found that Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform less than a full range of light work with, as relevant here, a preclusion from fine manipulation. (Id. at 24.) Relying on the testimony of the VE, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was capable of performing her past relevant work as a cashier. (Id. at 29.)

B. There Was Ambiguity Between the ALJ's Findings Regarding Plaintiff's Limitations and Her Ability ...


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