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Robertson v. Colvin

United States District Court, C.D. California

February 11, 2015

REGINA RENE ROBERTSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

FREDERICK F. MUMM, Magistrate Judge.

PROCEEDINGS IN THIS COURT

Plaintiff seeks to overturn the decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying her application for Disability Insurance benefits. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under 42 U.S.C. § 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, 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. This 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 to more than one rational interpretation, the Commissioner's decision must be upheld. Gallant v. Heckler, 753 F.2d 1450, 1452 (9th Cir. 1984). However, even if substantial evidence exists in the record to support the Commissioner's decision, the decision must be reversed if the proper legal standard was not applied. Howard ex rel. Wolff v. Barnhart, 341 F.3d 1006, 1014-15 (9th Cir. 2003); see also Smolen v. Chater, 80 F.3d 1273, 1279 (9th Cir. 1996).

CONTENTIONS

Plaintiff raises four issues:

1. Whether the ALJ properly found that plaintiff's mental impairment is not severe;

2. Whether the ALJ erred in failing to account for plaintiff's obesity;

3. Whether the ALJ's residual functional capacity assessment is supported by substantial evidence; and

4. Whether the Appeals Council erred by failing to associate additional documentation with plaintiff's file.

DISCUSSION

1. The proper rating of plaintiff's mental impairment.

In the decision, the ALJ found that plaintiff suffered from a mental impairment, depression, but that the impairment was not severe. (AR 18.) Plaintiff contends that the ALJ erred in finding the impairment not to be severe and in failing to account for ...


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