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Lomas v. Colvin

United States District Court, C.D. California

December 2, 2014

MELINDA ANN LOMAS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY

JOHN E. McDERMOTT, Magistrate Judge.

PROCEEDINGS

On April 30, 2014, Melinda Ann Lomas ("Plaintiff" or "Claimant") filed a complaint seeking review of the decision by the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying Plaintiff's applications for Social Security Disability and Disability Insurance benefits and for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits. The Commissioner filed an Answer on July 31, 2014. On November 21, 2014, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("JS"). The matter is now ready for decision.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), both parties consented to proceed before this Magistrate Judge. After reviewing the pleadings, transcripts, and administrative record ("AR"), the Court concludes that the Commissioner's decision must be affirmed and this case dismissed with prejudice.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Melinda Ann Lomas is a 52-year-old female who applied for Social Security Disability and Disability Insurance benefits on February 1, 2011 and Supplemental Security Income benefits on January 31, 2011, alleging disability beginning November 28, 2006.[1] (AR 17.) The ALJ determined that Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since November 28, 2006, the alleged onset date. (AR 19.)

Plaintiff's claims were denied initially on August 5, 2011 and on reconsideration on April 4, 2012. (AR 17.) Plaintiff filed a timely request for hearing, which was held before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") William K. Mueller on December 11, 2012 in San Bernardino, California. (AR 17.) Claimant appeared and testified at the hearing and was represented by counsel. (AR 17.) Vocational expert ("VE") Sandra M. Fioretti also appeared and testified at the hearing. (AR 17.)

The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on January 8, 2013. (AR 17-25.) The Appeals Council denied review on February 24, 2014. (AR 1-3.)

DISPUTED ISSUES

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, Plaintiff only raises the following disputed issue as a ground for reversal and remand:

1. Whether the ALJ properly determined that Plaintiff has a non-severe physical or mental impairment.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court reviews the ALJ's decision to determine whether the ALJ's findings are supported by substantial evidence and free of legal error. Smolen v. Chater, 80 F.3d 1273, 1279 (9th Cir. 1996); see also DeLorme v. Sullivan, 924 F.2d 841, 846 (9th Cir. 1991) (ALJ's disability determination must be supported by substantial evidence and based on the proper legal standards).

Substantial evidence means "more than a mere scintilla, ' but less than a preponderance." Saelee v. Chater, 94 F.3d 520, 521-22 (9th Cir. 1996) (quoting Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)). Substantial evidence is "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a ...


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