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Scoby v. Colvin

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

April 25, 2014

ERIC SCOBY, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

DOUGLAS F. McCORMICK, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Eric Scoby appeals from the denial of his applications for disability benefits. On appeal, the Court concludes that substantial evidence supported the finding of the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") that Plaintiff did not suffer from a severe mental impairment lasting for a continuous period of at least 12 months. Therefore, the ALJ's decision is affirmed.

I.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On August 4, 2008, Plaintiff filed applications for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits. Administrative Record ("AR") 205-16. He alleged disability beginning November 1, 2007, because of a stab wound to his left temple, migraine headaches, poor memory, poor balance, nerve damage from a head injury, insomnia, left-head pain, left-side abdominal pain, blurred vision, and paranoia. AR 98-101, 235-39, 267-68, 278, 285, 287. He also submitted records of mental health treatment. See AR 293-316, 323-50.

After a hearing on September 14, 2010, an ALJ determined that Plaintiff had medically determinable impairments of mood disorder, depression, borderline intellectual functioning, posttraumatic stress disorder, history of diabetes mellitus, myopia, astigmatism, glaucoma, impacted cerumen, status post head trauma, headaches, and asthma. AR 20. The ALJ found, however, that none of these impairments was severe. AR 21. The ALJ thus found that Plaintiff was not disabled. AR 27.

II.

ISSUE PRESENTED

The parties dispute whether the ALJ erred in finding that Plaintiff did not suffer from any severe impairments. 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.

THE ALJ DID NOT ERR IN FINDING THAT PLAINTIFF HAD NO SEVERE ...


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