United States District Court, E.D. California
CAROLYN K. DELANEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner
of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying an
application for Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security
Act (“Act”). For the reasons discussed below, the
court will deny plaintiff's motion for summary judgment
and grant the Commissioner's cross-motion for summary
born April 1, 1966, applied on June 22, 2012 for SSI,
alleging disability beginning in November 2010.
Administrative Transcript (“AT”) 198-206.
Plaintiff alleged she was unable to work due to asthma,
depression, anxiety, left ankle injury, insomnia, and muscle
spasms. (AT 199.) In a decision dated November 21, 2014, the
ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled. (AT
20-36.) The ALJ made the following findings
(citations to 20 C.F.R. omitted):
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since June 22, 2012, the application date.
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
cervical degenerative disc disease; lumbar degenerative disc
disease; left ankle open reduction-internal fixation surgery
due to left bimalleolar fracture and subsequent hardware
removal; asthma; and depression.
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed
impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find
that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to
perform light work as defined in 20 CRF 416.967(b) except:
she needs to alternate between sitting and standing two times
per hour for stretch breaks at the workstation briefly; she
may occasionally use the left lower extremity for foot
controls; she can frequently climb ramps or stairs, or
crouch; she cannot climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; she
should avoid concentrated exposure to fumes, odors, and
dusts; she can perform simple, repetitive tasks; she may
occasionally perform complex or technical (semiskilled)
tasks; she may have frequent interaction with coworkers and
supervisors; and she may have occasional interaction with the
5. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
6. The claimant was born on April 1, 1966 and was 46 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49 on
the date the application was filed.
7. The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English.
8. Transferability of job skills is not material to the
determination of disability because using the
Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding
that the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or
not the claimant has transferable job skills.
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that the claimant can perform.
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, since June 22, 2012, the date the
application was filed.
argues that the ALJ committed the following errors in finding
plaintiff not disabled: (1) The ALJ's residual function
capacity finding is flawed, as the ALJ had insufficient
reasons to reject the medical opinions of physician Dr.
Haddadan and Dr. Lim, whose opinions should be credited; and
(2) the ALJ gave legally inadequate reasons for rejecting
court reviews the Commissioner's decision to determine
whether (1) it is based on proper legal standards pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 405(g), and (2) substantial evidence in the
record as a whole supports it. Tackett v. Apfel, 180
F.3d 1094, 1097 (9th Cir. 1999). Substantial evidence is more
than a mere scintilla, but less than a preponderance.
Connett v. Barnhart, 340 F.3d 871, 873 (9th Cir.
2003) (citation omitted). It means “such relevant
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.” Orn v. Astrue, 495 F.3d
625, 630 (9th Cir. 2007), quoting Burch v. Barnhart,
400 F.3d 676, 679 (9th Cir. 2005). “The ALJ is
responsible for determining credibility, resolving conflicts
in medical testimony, and resolving ambiguities.”
Edlund v. Massanari, 253 F.3d 1152, 1156 (9th Cir.
2001) (citations omitted). “The court will uphold the
ALJ's conclusion when the evidence is susceptible to more
than one rational interpretation.” Tommasetti v.
Astrue, 533 F.3d 1035, 1038 (9th Cir. 2008).
record as a whole must be considered, Howard v.
Heckler, 782 F.2d 1484, 1487 (9th Cir. 1986), and both
the evidence that supports and the evidence that detracts
from the ALJ's conclusion weighed. See Jones v.
Heckler, 760 F.2d 993, 995 (9th Cir. 1985). The court
may not affirm the ALJ's decision simply by isolating a
specific quantum of supporting evidence. Id.;
see also Hammock v. Bowen, 879 F.2d 498, 501 (9th
Cir. 1989). If substantial evidence supports the
administrative findings, or if there is conflicting evidence
supporting a finding of either disability or nondisability,
the finding of the ALJ is conclusive, see Sprague v.
Bowen, 812 F.2d 1226, ...