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Medrano v. Colvin

United States District Court, C.D. California

December 30, 2014

LUIS MANUEL MEDRANO, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ALKA SAGAR, Magistrate Judge.

PROCEEDINGS

On January 2, 2014, Plaintiff Luis Manuel Medrano filed a Complaint seeking review of the denial of his application for a period of disability, disability insurance benefits ("DIB"), and supplemental security income ("SSI"). (Docket Entry No. 3.) The parties consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge in February 2014. (Docket Entry Nos. 9, 10.) Defendant then filed an Answer to the Complaint and the Administrative Record ("A.R.") on May 23, 2014. (Docket Entry Nos. 12, 13.) On August 4, 2014, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("Joint Stip.") setting forth their respective positions regarding Plaintiff's claim. (Docket Entry No. 15.) The Court has taken the matter under submission without oral argument. See C.D. Cal. L.R. 7-3.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION

Plaintiff filed applications for DIB and SSI on September 23, 2009, alleging disability commencing on January 26, 2010. (A.R. 186-98.) Plaintiff alleges disability as a result of a stroke that he had on January 26, 2010. (Joint Stip. 3.)

After the Commissioner denied Plaintiff's claims initially and on reconsideration, Plaintiff requested a de novo hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). (A.R. 134-49.) The ALJ, Sherwin F. Biesman, held a hearing on August 2, 2012, taking testimony from Plaintiff and vocational expert ("VE") Frank Corso. (A.R. 67-81.)

On August 13, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision denying Plaintiff's application for DIB and SSI. (A.R. 33-44.) The ALJ found that Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: (1) residuals from a stroke, (2) chronic right facial pain, (3) hypertension, and (4) decreased vision, correctable by eyeglasses. (A.R. 35.) However, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's medically determinable mental impairment of an adjustment disorder is not severe. (A.R. 36.)

The ALJ then determined that Plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform a full range of medium work. (A.R. 38 (citing 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567, 416.967).) In determining Plaintiff's RFC, the ALJ discounted Plaintiff's testimony as to the intensity, persistence, and limiting effects of his symptoms. (A.R. 39.) The ALJ identified inconsistencies between Plaintiff's alleged symptoms, his daily activities, and the objective medical evidence. (A.R. 39-41.) Once the ALJ determined Plaintiff's RFC, he compared it to Plaintiff's past relevant work as a plater and plastics supervisor. (A.R. 42.) The ALJ relied on the VE's testimony to decide that Plaintiff could perform that work, particularly emphasizing the duties required of a plastics supervisor, DOT No. 556.130-14.

Accordingly, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled from January 26, 2010, through the date of the decision. (A.R. 42.) Plaintiff requested a review of the ALJ's decision, which the Appeals Council denied on October 31, 2013. (A.R. 7-20.) The ALJ's decision then became the final decision of the Commissioner, allowing this Court to review the decision. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c).

PLAINTIFF'S CONTENTION

Plaintiff contends that the ALJ did not provide clear and convincing reasons for rejecting his testimony. (Joint Stip. 4.)

STANDARD OF REVIEW

This court reviews the Administration's decision to determine if: (1) the Administration's findings are supported by substantial evidence; and (2) the Administration used proper legal standards. Smolen v. Chater, 80 F.3d 1273, 1279 (9th Cir. 1996). "Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla, but less than a preponderance." Andrews v. Shalala, 53 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 1995). To determine whether substantial evidence supports a finding, "a court must consider [] the record as a whole, weighing both evidence that supports and evidence that detracts from the [Commissioner's] conclusion." Reddick v. Chater, 157 F.3d 715, 720 (9th Cir. 1998). As a result, "[i]f evidence can reasonably support either ...


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