United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. STANDISH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Patrick Gerard Obrien (“Plaintiff”) filed a
complaint seeking review of Defendant Commissioner of Social
Security's (“Commissioner”) denial of his
application for Supplement Security Income
(“SSI”). The parties filed consents to proceed
before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge [Dkts.
11, 12] and briefs addressing disputed issues in the case
[Dkt. 19 (“Pltf.'s Br.”); Dkt. 23
(“Def.'s Br.”)]. The Court has taken the
parties' briefing under submission without oral argument.
For the reasons set forth below, the Court affirms the
decision of the ALJ and orders judgment entered accordingly.
ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION UNDER REVIEW
19, 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for SSI, alleging
that he became disabled as of March 1, 2008. [Dkt. 15,
Administrative Record (“AR”) 15, 141-149.] The
Commissioner denied his initial claim for benefits in
September 2014 and then denied his claim upon reconsideration
in May 2015. [AR 15, 46-82.] On January 6, 2016, a hearing
was held before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
Jay E. Levine. [AR 30-46.] On February 2, 2016, the ALJ
issued a decision denying Plaintiff's request for
benefits. [12-29.] Plaintiff requested review from the
Appeals Council on April 3, 2016, but the Appeals Council
denied his request for review on July 25, 2016. [AR 7-11.]
the five-step sequential evaluation process, the ALJ found
that Plaintiff was not disabled. See 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.920(b)-(g)(1). At step one, the ALJ concluded that
Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since the application date. [AR 17.] At step two, the ALJ
found that Plaintiff suffered from the following severe
impairments: status post triple bypass surgery, status post
multiple myocardial infarctions/heart attacks, and bilateral
torn rotator cuffs. [Id. (citing 20 C.F.R. §
416.920(c).] Next, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff did not
have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets
or medically equals the severity of one of the listed
impairments. [AR 18 (citing 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1; 20 C.F.R. §§ 416.920(d), 416.925, and
found that Plaintiff had the following residual functional
[M]edium work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(c) except he may
not lift above shoulder level with either upper extremity.
[AR 18.] Applying this RFC, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff had no past relevant work, but determined that
based on his age (61 years old), high school education, and
ability to communicate in English, he could perform
representative occupations such as hand packager (DOT
920.587-018), food mixer (DOT 520.687-034), and
inspector-packager (DOT 920.587-018) and, thus, is not
disabled. [AR 23-24.]
42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the Court reviews the
Commissioner's decision to determine if: (1) the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence; and (2) the Commissioner used correct legal
standards. See Carmickle v. Comm'r Soc. Sec.
Admin., 533 F.3d 1155, 1159 (9th Cir. 2008); Hoopai
v. Astrue, 499 F.3d 1071, 1074 (9th Cir. 2007).
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) (internal citation and quotations omitted);
see also Hoopai, 499 F.3d at 1074.
contends that the ALJ erred in finding that his adjustment
disorder mixed with anxiety and depression were not severe.
[Pltf.'s Br. at 9-13.] The Commissioner argues that
substantial evidence supports the ALJ's finding that
Plaintiff did not have a severe mental impairment.
[Def.'s Br. at 2.]
two of the sequential evaluation process, a plaintiff has the
burden to present evidence of medical signs, symptoms, and
laboratory findings that establish a medically determinable
physical or mental impairment that is severe and can be
expected to result in death or last for a continuous period
of at least 12 months. Ukolov v. Barnhart, 420 F.3d
1002, 1004-05 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing 42 U.S.C. §§
423(d)(3), 1382c(a)(3)(D)); see also 20 C.F.R.
§§ 416.912, 416.921. Substantial evidence supports
an ALJ's determination that a claimant is not disabled at
step two when “there are no medical signs or laboratory
findings to substantiate the existence of a medically
determinable physical or mental ...