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Anderson v. Colvin

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

March 6, 2015

DEBORAH LYNN ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

PAUL L. ABRAMS, Magistrate Judge.

I.

PROCEEDINGS

Plaintiff filed this action on June 18, 2014, seeking review of the Commissioner's denial of her application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB"). The parties filed Consents to proceed before the undersigned Magistrate Judge on July 1, 2014, and July 9, 2014. Pursuant to the Court's Order, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation on February 9, 2015, that addresses their positions concerning the disputed issue in the case. The Court has taken the Joint Stipulation under submission without oral argument.

II.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was born on December 24, 1956. [Administrative Record ("AR") at 25, 176.] She has past relevant work experience as a restaurant manager, dining room attendant, waitress, and home attendant. [AR at 25, 78.]

On January 9, 2011, plaintiff protectively filed an application for a period of disability and DIB, alleging that she has been unable to work since July 9, 2010. [AR at 17, 176-77.] After her application was denied initially and upon reconsideration, plaintiff timely filed a request for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). [AR at 17, 110-11.] A hearing was held on September 4, 2012, at which time plaintiff appeared represented by an attorney, and testified on her own behalf. [AR at 34-84.] A vocational expert ("VE") also testified. [AR at 72-82.] On September 28, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision concluding that plaintiff was not under a disability from July 9, 2010, through the date of the decision. [AR at 17-27.] Plaintiff requested review of the ALJ's decision by the Appeals Council. [AR at 12.] When the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review on April 17, 2014 [AR at 1-3], the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner. See Sam v. Astrue , 550 F.3d 808, 810 (9th Cir. 2008) (per curiam) (citations omitted). This action followed.

III.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 405(g), this Court has authority to review the Commissioner's decision to deny benefits. The decision will be disturbed only if it is not supported by substantial evidence or if it is based upon the application of improper legal standards. Berry v. Astrue , 622 F.3d 1228, 1231 (9th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted).

"Substantial evidence means more than a mere scintilla but less than a preponderance; it is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Carmickle v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin. , 533 F.3d 1155, 1159 (9th Cir. 2008) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); Reddick v. Chater , 157 F.3d 715, 720 (9th Cir. 1998) (same). When determining whether substantial evidence exists to support the Commissioner's decision, the Court examines the administrative record as a whole, considering adverse as well as supporting evidence. Mayes v. Massanari , 276 F.3d 453, 459 (9th Cir. 2001) (citation omitted); see Ryan v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec. , 528 F.3d 1194, 1198 (9th Cir. 2008) ("[A] reviewing court must consider the entire record as a whole and may not affirm simply by isolating a specific quantum of supporting evidence.") (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). "Where evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the ALJ's decision should be upheld." Ryan , 528 F.3d at 1198 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); see Robbins v. Soc. Sec. Admin. , 466 F.3d 880, 882 (9th Cir. 2006) ("If the evidence can support either affirming or reversing the ALJ's conclusion, [the reviewing court] may not substitute [its] judgment for that of the ALJ.") (citation omitted).

IV.

THE EVALUATION OF ...


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