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Leddy v. Colvin

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

August 19, 2014

SUSAN LEDDY, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

DOUGLAS F. McCORMICK, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Susan Leddy ("Plaintiff") appeals the decision of the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") denying her applications for Social Security disability benefits. The Court concludes that substantial evidence supported the finding of the ALJ that Plaintiff's mental impairments, or combination of impairments, were not severe. Therefore, the ALJ's decision is affirmed.

I.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed her applications for benefits on January 15, 2011, alleging disability beginning December 28, 2009. In an unfavorable decision, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the medically determinable mental impairments of depressive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and drug dependency, as well as other physical impairments. Administrative Record ("AR") 24. However, the ALJ found that her mental impairments, considered alone and in combination, did not cause more than minimal limitation in her ability to perform basic mental work activities, and therefore were not severe. AR 25. The ALJ concluded that Plaintiff could perform sedentary work with no additional limitations due to her mental impairments. AR 28-30. Based on the testimony of a vocational expert, the ALJ then found that her limitations would allow her to perform her past relevant work as a market-research analyst and a computer operations manager. AR 33. The ALJ therefore concluded Plaintiff was not disabled. AR 35.

II.

ISSUE PRESENTED

The parties dispute whether the ALJ erred in assessing no limitations in connection with Plaintiff's combination of mental impairments. See Joint Stipulation ("JS") 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 MENTAL IMPAIRMENTS

The ALJ's finding that Plaintiff's mental impairment symptoms would impose no more than minimal limitations on her ability to perform basic work-related ...


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