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Chambers v. Colvin

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

January 9, 2014

DAWN M. CHAMBERS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting 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 grounds for reversal and/or remand is whether the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") properly considered the opinion of Plaintiff's treating physician, Joni Zapata, M.D. (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 depressive and anxiety-related disorders; and a history of asthma.[3] (Administrative Record ("AR") at 31.) The ALJ also found that Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels, except that there should be no concentrated exposure to pulmonary irritants and no more than low-end semi-skilled (SVP 3) work. ( Id. at 32.)

Relying on the testimony of a vocational expert ("VE"), the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was capable of performing her past relevant work as a personal attendant (Dictionary of Occupational Titles ("DOT") No. 309.674-014) as generally performed in the national economy. (AR at 36-37.) The ALJ also found that even assuming Plaintiff's mental condition further restricted her to work involving only simple and repetitive 1-3 step tasks, i.e., unskilled work, she could still perform the requirements of such ...


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