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Vidal v. Colvin

United States District Court, C.D. California

April 29, 2014

DINO JORGE VIDAL, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

OSWALD PARADA, Magistrate Judge.

I.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On October 21, 2009, Dino Jorge Vidal ("Plaintiff") applied for Social Security Disability benefits. (Administrative Record ("AR") at 65, 131-32.) On May 13, 2010, his application was denied. ( Id. at 75-79.) On September 27, 2010, Plaintiff timely requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"), which took place on December 6, 2011. ( Id. at 49-64, 88.) On December 28, 2011, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision to Plaintiff. ( Id. at 34-44.) Plaintiff timely appealed the ALJ's decision to the Appeals Council, which denied review on May 22, 2013. ( Id. at 1-4.) Thus, the ALJ's decision is the Commissioner's final decision in this matter.

On August 8, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Complaint seeking review in this Court of the Commissioner's decision denying Social Security benefits ("Complaint"). (ECF No. 3.) On December 20, 2013, Defendant filed an Answer to the Complaint. (ECF No. 16.) On December 26, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment ("MSJ"). (ECF No. 18.) On January 27, 2014, Defendant filed a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Cross MSJ"). (ECF No. 19.) On February 20, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Response to Defendant's Cross-Motion ("Response"). (ECF No. 20.)

II.

DISPUTED ISSUES

As reflected in the Complaint, the disputed issues raised by Plaintiff as the grounds for reversal and/or remand are as follows:

(1) Whether the ALJ properly considered the testimony of the Vocational Expert ("VE");
(2) Whether the ALJ erred in affording greater weight to the orthopedic consultative examiner;
(3) Whether the ALJ properly rejected treating source opinions; and
(4) Whether the ALJ failed to properly consider whether Plaintiff's condition meets or medically equals Listing 1.02 A and B.

(Compl. at 4.)

III.

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).

IV.

DISCUSSION

A. The ALJ's ...


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