United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ROZELLA A. OLIVER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Sherwood Guy (“Plaintiff”) challenges the
Commissioner's denial of his application for supplemental
security income benefits (“SSI”). For the reasons
stated below, the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.
about August 27, 2013, Plaintiff applied for disability
insurance benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the
Social Security Act (the “Act”). (AR 177-78.)
Also in August 2013, Plaintiff applied for supplemental
social security income pursuant to Title XVI of the Act.
(Id. at 155-76.) In both applications, Plaintiff
alleged disability beginning on September 14, 1998.
(Id. at 156, 177.) Plaintiff's claims were
initially denied on January 16, 2014. (AR 104-09.) Plaintiff
then filed a written request for a hearing. (Id. at
111-12.) The Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
held a hearing on June 10, 2015, in Los Angeles, California,
at which Plaintiff, represented by an attorney, testified.
(Id. at 31-57.) An impartial vocational expert
(“VE”) also testified at the hearing.
(Id. at 54-56.) At the hearing, Plaintiff amended
his alleged onset date of disability to August 26, 2013, and
voluntarily dismissed his claim for DIB. (Id. at
32.) After the hearing, Plaintiff submitted additional
medical records. On September 9, 2015, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff had not been under a disability, pursuant to the
Social Security Act,  from August 26, 2013, through the decision
date. (Id. at 25.) The ALJ's decision became the
Commissioner's final decision when the Appeals Council
denied Plaintiff's request for review. (Id. at
1-6.) Plaintiff filed this action on May 16, 2016. (Dkt. No.
followed a five-step sequential evaluation process to assess
whether Plaintiff was disabled under the Social Security Act.
Lester v. Chater, 81 F.3d 821, 828 n.5 (9th Cir.
1995). At step one, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since August 26, 2013, the alleged onset date
(“AOD”). (AR 14.) At step two,
the ALJ found that Plaintiff has the severe impairments of
seizure disorder, history of gunshot wounds to the head, and
low back arthritis. (Id.) At step
three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff “does not
have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets
or medically equals the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.”
(Id. at 15.)
proceeding to step four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff has the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to:
[P]erform medium work as defined in 29 CFR 416.967(c) except
that the claimant should avoid all hazards such as ladders,
heights, or moving machinery.
step four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff has
no past relevant work. (AR 23.) At step
five, the ALJ found that there are jobs that exist
in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff
can perform. (Id. at 23-24.) Accordingly, the ALJ
found that Plaintiff “has not been under a disability .
. . from August 26, 2013, through the date of [the ALJ's]
decision.” (Id. at 24.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
42 U.S.C. § 405(g), a district court may review the
Commissioner's decision to deny benefits. A court must
affirm an ALJ's findings of fact if they are supported by
substantial evidence, and if the proper legal standards were
applied. Mayes v. Massanari, 276 F.3d 453, 458-59
(9th Cir. 2001). “‘Substantial evidence'
means more than a mere scintilla, but less than a
preponderance; it is such relevant evidence as a reasonable
person might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Lingenfelter v. Astrue, 504 F.3d
1028, 1035 (9th Cir. 2007) (citing Robbins v. Soc. Sec.
Admin., 466 F.3d 880, 882 (9th Cir. 2006)). An ALJ can
satisfy the substantial evidence requirement “by
setting out a detailed and thorough summary of the facts and
conflicting clinical evidence, stating his interpretation
thereof, and making findings.” Reddick v.
Chater, 157 F.3d 715, 725 (9th Cir. 1998) (citation
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 that supports and evidence that detracts from the
Secretary's conclusion.” Aukland v.
Massanari, 257 F.3d 1033, 1035 (9th Cir. 2001)
(citations and internal quotations omitted).
“‘Where evidence is susceptible to more than one
rational interpretation, ' the ALJ's decision should
be upheld.” Ryan v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
528 F.3d 1194, 1198 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing Burch v.
Barnhart, 400 F.3d 676, 679 (9th Cir. 2005)); see
also Robbins, 466 F.3d at 882 (“If the evidence
can support either affirming or reversing the ALJ's
conclusion, we may not substitute our judgment for that of
the ALJ.”). The Court may review only “the
reasons provided by the ALJ in the disability determination
and may not affirm the ALJ on a ground upon which he did not
rely.” Orn v. Astrue, 495 F.3d 625, 630 (9th
Cir. 2007) (citing Connett v. Barnhart, 340 F.3d
871, 874 (9th Cir. 2003)).