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Samaro v. Colvin

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

May 19, 2015

ROSEANN SAMARO Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

ANDREW J. WISTRICH, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff filed this action seeking reversal of the decision of the defendant, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the "Commissioner"), denying plaintiff's application for social security disability insurance benefits. The parties have filed a Joint Stipulation ("JS") setting forth their contentions with respect to each disputed issue.

Administrative Proceedings

The procedural facts are recited in the Joint Stipulation. [See JS 2]. Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits on March 4, 2011, alleging that she had been disabled since February 25, 2010, the date she sustained a work-related injury. [Administrative Record ("AR") 10, 12]. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. [JS 2; AR 10, 63-66, 70-75]. Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, which was conducted before an administrative law judge (the "ALJ") on September 10]. Testimony was also received from vocational expert, Jack M. Dymond. [AR 10].

In a written decision dated November 9, 2012, the ALJ found that plaintiff had the following severe impairments:

Degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine and lumbar spine; cervical and lumbar radiculopathy; lumbsosacral strain; left elbow lateral epicondylitis; chronic periscapular strain in the left shoulder; history of laceration of the flexor digitorum profundus of the left little finger; mild bilateral ulnar motor demyelinating neuropathies at the wrists with early sensory axon[a]l loss on the left; left carpal tunnel syndrome; right knee bursitis with radial tear of the lateral meniscus and linear intrasubstance mucoid degeneration with the anterior horn of the lateral meniscus and posterior horn of the medial meniscus; synovial cyst to the first metacarpal trapezium joint on the right; and depression and insomnia secondary to chronic pain disorder.

[AR 12].

The ALJ concluded that plaintiff was not disabled prior to November 9, 2012, because she retained the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform her past relevant work as a pricer/garment sorter and as a housekeeper. Alternatively, the ALJ found that plaintiff's RFC did not preclude her from performing alternative jobs available in significant numbers in the national economy. [JS 2; AR 14, 18-20]. The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review. [JS 2; AR 1-3].

Standard of Review

The Commissioner's denial of benefits should be disturbed only if it is not supported by substantial evidence or is based on legal error. Stout v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., 454 F.3d 1050, 1054 (9th Cir. 2006); Thomas v. Barnhart, 278 F.3d 947, 954 (9th Cir. 2002). "Substantial evidence" means "more than a mere scintilla, but less than a preponderance." Bayliss v. Barnhart, 427 F.3d 1211, 1214 n.1 (9th Cir. 2005). "It is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Burch v. Barnhart, 400 F.3d 676, 679 (9th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation marks omitted). The court is required to review the record as a whole and to consider evidence detracting from the decision as well as evidence supporting the decision. Robbins v. Soc. Sec. Admin, 466 F.3d 880, 882 (9th Cir. 2006); Verduzco v. Apfel, 188 F.3d 1087, 1089 (9th Cir. 1999). "Where the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, one of which supports the ALJ's decision, the ALJ's conclusion must be upheld." Thomas, 278 F.3d at 954 (citing Morgan v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec. Admin., 169 F.3d 595, 599 (9th Cir. 1999)).

Statement of Disputed Issues

The only disputed issue is whether the ALJ made a properly supported credibility finding. [JS 2, 3-16].

Discussion

Credibility ...


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