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Melendez v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 19, 2014

JAVIER MIGUEL MELENDEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, [1] Acting Commissioner of Social Security Defendant.

ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S SOCIAL SECURITY COMPLAINT

GARY S. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Javier Miguel Melendez ("Plaintiff") seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner" or "Defendant") denying his application for Supplemental Security Income payments under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. The matter is pending before the Court on the parties' briefs, which were submitted without oral argument to the Honorable Gary S. Austin, United States Magistrate Judge.[2]

THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDING

A. Background and Summary of the ALJ's Decision

On May 26, 2010, Plaintiff filed an application for supplemental security income under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, alleging disability beginning February 27, 2010. Administrative Record ("AR") 9. On April 4, 2012 an administrative law judge ("ALJ") conducted a hearing on Plaintiff's claim. AR 9. In a written decision issued on April 17, 2012, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff was not disabled. AR 17. Specifically, the ALJ found: (1) Plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments: erythromelalgia, bipolar disorder, and a history of polysubstance dependence; (2) Plaintiff's impairments, considered singly or in combination, did not meet or medically equal the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1; (3) Plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform medium work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 416.967(c), with the limitations that he needed to avoid concentrated exposure to extreme heat and extreme cold and could perform only simple, repetitive tasks; (4) Plaintiff had no past relevant work; and (5) Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity allowed him to perform jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy. AR 11-16.

On March 13, 2013, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision. AR 1. Plaintiff then commenced this action in District Court.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under 42 U.S.C. ยง 405(g), this Court reviews the Commissioner's decision to determine whether (1) it is supported by substantial evidence and (2) it applies the correct legal standards. See Carmickle v. Commissioner, 533 F.3d 1155, 1159 (9th Cir. 2008); Andrews v. Shalala, 53 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 1995).

"Substantial evidence means more than a scintilla but less than a preponderance." Thomas v. Barnhart, 278 F.3d 947, 954 (9th Cir. 2002). It is "relevant evidence which, considering the record as a whole, a reasonable person might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Id. In applying the substantial evidence test, courts review the record as a whole. Lamb v. Mathews, 546 F.2d 814, 818 n. 6 (9th Cir. 1976). Where the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, one of which supports the ALJ's decision, the ALJ's conclusion must be upheld." Id.

DISCUSSION

A. Issue Presented for Review

Plaintiff alleged disability due to erythromelalgia, [3] swelling in hands and feet, bipolar disorder, and chronic pain. Plaintiff testified about his impairments, and the pain he experienced as a result of these impairments, at the administrate hearing conducted by the ALJ. In the instant appeal Plaintiff argues ...


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