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Broom v. Colvin

United States District Court, C.D. California

March 13, 2015

KENNETH WAYNE BROOM, 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 June 6, 2014, Kenneth Wayne Broom ("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 Insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits. The Commissioner filed an Answer on September 10, 2014. On March 9, 2015, 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 is a 55-year-old male who applied for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits on February 16, 2012, alleging disability beginning August 15, 2010. (AR 12.) The ALJ determined that Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since August 15, 2010, the alleged onset date. (AR 15.)

Plaintiff's claims were denied initially on July 24, 2012. (AR 12.) Plaintiff filed a timely request for hearing, which was held before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Alexander Weir, III on February 11, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (AR 12.) Claimant appeared and testified at the hearing and was represented by counsel. (AR 12.)[1] Vocational Expert ("VA") Susan D. Green also appeared and testified at the hearing.

The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on April 3, 2013. (AR 12-25.) The Appeals Council denied review on April 17, 2014. (AR 1-3.)

DISPUTED ISSUES

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, Plaintiff raises the following disputed issues as grounds for reversal and remand:

1. Whether the ALJ properly considered Plaintiff's obesity.
2. Whether there is an inconsistency between the Dictionary of Occupational Titles ("DOT") and the ALJ's holding that Plaintiff can perform the jobs of a hand packager and an industrial cleaner.

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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