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Alleyne v. Colvin

United States District Court, C.D. California

March 26, 2015

PHILIP CARLISLE ALLEYNE, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

CHARLES F. EICK, Magistrate Judge.

PROCEEDINGS

Plaintiff filed a Complaint on July 16, 2014, seeking review of the Commissioner's denial of benefits. The parties filed a consent to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge on August 21, 2014.

Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on December 18, 2014. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on March 5, 2015. The Court has taken both motions under submission without oral argument. See L.R. 7-15; "Order, " filed July 29, 2014.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION

Plaintiff asserts disability since August 14, 2010, based primarily on alleged left foot and leg problems, diabetes, and hip pain (Administrative Record ("A.R.") 132-33, 157). The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") examined the record and heard testimony from Plaintiff and a vocational expert (A.R. 16-24, 28-53, 202-42). The ALJ found Plaintiff has severe "paralysis of the left leg below the knee[, ] left foot drop[, ] diabetes[, ] and obesity, " but retains the residual functional capacity to perform a limited range of sedentary work (A.R. 18-22).[1] The ALJ expressly considered Plaintiff's "weight, including the impact on his ability to ambulate, as well as his other body systems..." (A.R. 18).

The ALJ found that Plaintiff's condition does not meet or equal a listed impairment, explaining:

The evidence does not support that the claimant has the severity of symptoms required either singly or in combination to meet or equal the conditions found under the medical Listings, specifically, medical Listing 1.02. No treating or examining physician has recorded findings equivalent in severity to the criteria of any listed impairment, nor does the evidence show medical findings that are the same or equivalent to those of any listed impairment of the Listing of Impairments. A more detailed discussion to support this finding follows.

(A.R. 19). The ALJ went on to summarize the medical record, including the treating physician's opinion, the consultative examiner's opinion (which expressly considered Plaintiff's obesity), and the x-ray findings, including an x-ray of Plaintiff's left ankle (A.R. 20-22).

In accordance with the testimony of the vocational expert, the ALJ found that a person with Plaintiff's residual capacity could perform jobs existing in significant numbers (A.R. 22-23; see A.R. 50-51 (vocational expert testimony)). The Appeals Council denied review (A.R. 1-3).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under 42 U.S.C. section 405(g), 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 correct legal standards. See Carmickle v. Commissioner, 533 F.3d 1155, 1159 (9th Cir. 2008); Hoopai v. Astrue, 499 F.3d 1071, 1074 (9th Cir. 2007); see also Brewes v. Commissioner, 682 F.3d 1157, 1161 (9th Cir. 2012). Substantial evidence is "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (citation and quotations omitted); see Widmark v. Barnhart, 454 F.3d 1063, 1066 (9th Cir. 2006).

If the evidence can support either outcome, the court may not substitute its judgment for that of the ALJ. But the Commissioner's decision cannot be affirmed simply by isolating a specific quantum of supporting evidence. Rather, a court must consider the record as a whole, weighing both evidence ...

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