Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Prince v. Berryhill

United States District Court, C.D. California

March 21, 2017

MOHAMMAD PRINCE, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          KAREN E. SCOTT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Mohammad Prince ("Plaintiff) appeals the final decision of the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") denying his application for Social Security disability insurance benefits ("DIB") and supplemental security income ("SSI"). For the reasons discussed below, the ALJ's decision is AFFIRMED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff applied for DIB and SSI on December 5, 2013, alleging the onset of disability on October 11, 2013. Administrative Record ("AR") 172-93; 194-99. An ALJ conducted a hearing on September 30, 2015, at which Plaintiff, who was represented by an attorney, appeared and testified. AR 32-62.

         On February 8, 2016, the ALJ issued a written decision denying Plaintiffs request for benefits. AR 14-31. The ALJ found that Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: "diabetes mellitus; degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine and lumbar spine; and valvular heart disease with a history of thoracic/abdominal aortic dissection." AR 19. Notwithstanding his impairments, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform the demands of light work with the additional limits that he can only perform "postural activities frequently; must avoid concentrated exposure to hazards such as unprotected heights, open bodies of water, and moving mechanical parts of equipment, tools, or machinery." AR 20.

         Based on this RFC and the testimony of a vocational expert ("VE"), the ALJ found that Plaintiff could not perform his past relevant work as a store laborer, but could work as a cashier, mail clerk, or sales attendant. AR 25. Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff is not disabled. AR 26.

         II. ISSUES PRESENTED

         The sole issue presented is whether the ALJ properly evaluated Plaintiff's testimony concerning the functionally limiting effects of his pain. Joint Stipulation ("JS")at4.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. The ALJ Properly Evaluated Plaintiffs Pain Testimony.

         1. Applicable Law.

         An ALJ's assessment of symptom severity and claimant credibility is entitled to "great weight." See Weetman v. Sullivan, 877 F.2d 20, 22 (9th Cir. 1989); Nvman v. Heckler, 779 F.2d 528, 531 (9th Cir. 1986). "[T]he ALJ is not required to believe every allegation of disabling pain, or else disability benefits would be available for the asking, a result plainly contrary to 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(5)(A)." Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         In evaluating a claimant's subjective symptom testimony, the ALJ engages in a two-step analysis. Lingerfelter v. Astrue, 504 F.3d 1028, 1035-36 (9th Cir. 2007). "First, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant has presented objective medical evidence of an underlying impairment [that] could reasonably be expected to produce the pain or other symptoms alleged." Id. at 1036. If so, the ALJ may not reject claimant's testimony "simply because there is no showing that the impairment can reasonably produce the degree of symptom alleged." Smolen v. Chater, 80 F.3d 1273, 1282 (9th Cir. 1996).

         Second, if the claimant meets the first test, the ALJ may discredit the claimant's subjective symptom testimony only if he makes specific findings that support the conclusion. Berry v. Astrue, 622 F.3d 1228, 1234 (9th Cir. 2010). Absent a finding or affirmative evidence of malingering, the ALJ must provide "clear and convincing" reasons for rejecting the claimant's testimony. Lester v. Chater, 81 F.3d 821, 834 (9th Cir. 1995); Ghanim v. Colvin, 763 F.3d 1154, 1163 & n.9 (9th Cir. 2014). The ALJ must consider a claimant's work record, observations of medical providers and third parties with knowledge of claimant's limitations, aggravating factors, functional restrictions caused by symptoms, effects of medication, and the claimant's daily activities. Smolen, 80 F.3d at 1283-84 & n.8. "Although lack of medical ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.