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Richardson v. Colvin

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

December 10, 2013

STEVIE B. RICHARDSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY

JOHN E. McDERMOTT, Magistrate Judge.

PROCEEDINGS

On April 9, 2013, Stevie B. Richardson ("Plaintiff" or "Claimant") filed a complaint seeking review of the decision by the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying Plaintiff's applications for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits. The Commissioner filed an Answer on July 30, 2013. On November 25, 2013, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("JS"). The matter is now ready for decision.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), both parties consented to proceed before this Magistrate Judge. After reviewing the pleadings, transcripts, and administrative record ("AR"), the Court concludes that the Commissioner's decision must be affirmed and this case dismissed with prejudice.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a 53-year-old male who applied for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits on November 2, 2009 and Supplemental Security Income benefits on October 31, 2009. (AR 12.) The ALJ determined that Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 2, 2007, the alleged onset date of his disability. (AR 14.)

Plaintiff's claims were denied initially on February 26, 2010. (AR 12.) Plaintiff filed a timely request for hearing, which was held before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Robert S. Eisman on April 27, 2011, in Downey, California. (AR 12) Claimant appeared and testified at the hearing and was represented by counsel. (AR 12.) Vocational expert ("VE") Randi A. Langford-Hetrick also appeared and testified at the hearing. (AR 12.)

The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on May 27, 2011. (AR 12-20.) The Appeals Council denied review on October 1, 2012. (AR 2-4.)

DISPUTED ISSUES

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, Plaintiff only raises the following disputed issue as ground for reversal and remand:

1. Whether the ALJ has properly considered the testimony of Stevie Richardson.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court reviews the ALJ's decision to determine whether the ALJ's findings are supported by substantial evidence and free of legal error. Smolen v. Chater , 80 F.3d 1273, 1279 (9th Cir. 1996); see also DeLorme v. Sullivan , 924 F.2d 841, 846 (9th Cir. 1991) (ALJ's disability determination must be supported by substantial evidence and based on the proper legal standards).

Substantial evidence means "more than a mere scintilla, ' but less than a preponderance." Saelee v. Chater , 94 F.3d 520, 521-22 (9th Cir. 1996) (quoting Richardson v. Perales , 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)). Substantial evidence is "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a ...


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