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Bowden v. Colvin

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

April 13, 2015

SAMUEL BOWDEN, 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 April 15, 2014, seeking review of the Commissioner's denial of his application for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") payments. The parties filed Consents to proceed before the undersigned Magistrate Judge on May 20, 2014, and May 27, 2014. Pursuant to the Court's Order, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation on April 1, 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 March 5, 1961. [Administrative Record ("AR") at 22.] He has past relevant work experience as a warehouse worker and a casting operator. [AR at 22, 60-61.]

On September 23, 2010, plaintiff filed an application for SSI payments, alleging that he has been unable to work since April 16, 2006. [AR at 17, 234.] After his application was denied initially and upon reconsideration, plaintiff timely filed a request for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). [AR at 17, 187-89.] A video hearing was held on October 17, 2012, at which time plaintiff appeared represented by an attorney, and testified on his own behalf. [AR at 38-69.] A vocational expert ("VE") also testified. [AR at 58-68.] On October 26, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision concluding that plaintiff was not under a disability from September 23, 2010, the date the application was filed. [AR at 17-24.] Plaintiff requested review of the ALJ's decision by the Appeals Council. [AR at 13.] When the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review on February 4, 2014 [AR at 2-7], 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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