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Turner v. Colvin

United States District Court, C.D. California, Western Division

April 9, 2014

MICHAEL A. TURNER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

DOUGLAS F. McCORMICK, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Michael A. Turner appeals from the denial of his applications for disability benefits. On appeal, the Court concludes that the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") properly evaluated Plaintiff's human immunodeficiency virus ("HIV") infection under the listings. Therefore, the ALJ's decision is affirmed.

I.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On August 30, 2010, Plaintiff filed applications for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits. Administrative Record ("AR") 141-55. He alleged disability beginning March 28, 2010, because of bipolar disorder, HIV infection, lymphoma, and hepatitis C infection. AR 163. After a hearing on April 3, 2012, an ALJ found that Plaintiff had severe impairments of hepatitis C, HIV, anxiety disorder, and affective disorder. AR 27. The ALJ concluded that Plaintiff had a residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform medium work but was restricted to unskilled tasks. AR 27. A vocational expert ("VE") opined that Plaintiff could perform his past relevant work as a warehouse worker. AR 30; see also AR 47. The VE further identified three jobs available in significant numbers that could by performed by an individual with Plaintiff's RFC. AR 30-31; see also AR 47-49. The ALJ thus found that Plaintiff was not disabled. AR 31-32.

II.

ISSUE PRESENTED

The parties dispute whether the ALJ erred in evaluating the Plaintiff's HIV infection under the listings. See Joint Stipulation ("JS") at 4. Plaintiff stipulates that, excepting issues raised in the Joint Stipulation, the ALJ has properly evaluated the medical evidence. Id. at 3.

III.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), a district court may review the Commissioner's decision to deny benefits. The ALJ's findings and decision should be upheld if they are free from legal error and are supported by substantial evidence based on the record as a whole. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Richardson v. Perales , 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971); Parra v. Astrue , 481 F.3d 742, 746 (9th Cir. 2007). Substantial evidence means such relevant evidence as a reasonable person might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Richardson , 402 U.S. at 401; Lingenfelter v. Astrue , 504 F.3d 1028, 1035 (9th Cir. 2007). It is more than a scintilla, but less than a preponderance. Lingenfelter , 504 F.3d at 1035 (citing Robbins v. Soc. Sec. Admin. , 466 F.3d 880, 882 (9th Cir. 2006)). To determine whether substantial evidence supports a finding, the reviewing court "must review the administrative record as a whole, weighing both the evidence that supports and the evidence that detracts from the Commissioner's conclusion." Reddick v. Chater , 157 F.3d 715, 720 (9th Cir. 1996). "If the evidence can reasonably support either affirming or reversing, " the reviewing court "may not substitute its judgment" for that of the Commissioner. Id. at 720-721.

IV.

DISCUSSION

The ALJ Did Not Err in Evaluating Plaintiff's HIV Infection ...


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