United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER AFFIRMING DECISION OF
ALEXANDER F. MacKINNON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Maria Guadalupe Inda De Arias filed her application for
disability benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act
on October 16, 2012, alleging disability beginning May 1,
2012. After denial on initial review and on reconsideration,
a hearing took place before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
on December 22, 2014, at which Plaintiff testified on her own
behalf. A vocational expert (“VE”) also
testified. (Administrative Record (“AR”)
111-118.) In a decision dated February 19, 2015, the ALJ
found that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of
the Social Security Act from May 1, 2012, through the date of
the decision. The Appeals Council declined to set aside the
ALJ's unfavorable decision in a notice dated June 28,
2016. Plaintiff filed a Complaint herein on August 18, 2016,
seeking review of the Commissioner's denial of her
application for benefits.
accordance with the Court's Order Re Procedures in Social
Security Appeal, Plaintiff filed a memorandum in support of
the complaint on April 14, 2017 (“Pl. Mem.”) and
the Commissioner filed a memorandum in support of her answer
on April 20, 2017 (“Def. Mem.”). Plaintiff did
not file a reply. This matter now is ready for
reflected in the parties' memoranda, the sole disputed
issue in this case is whether the ALJ erred in his adverse
credibility finding regarding Plaintiff's testimony.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court reviews the
Commissioner's decision to determine whether the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence and whether the proper legal standards were applied.
See Treichler v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec. Admin., 775
F.3d 1090, 1098 (9th Cir. 2014). Substantial evidence means
“more than a mere scintilla” but less than a
preponderance. See Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S.
389, 401 (1971); Lingenfelter v. Astrue, 504 F.3d
1028, 1035 (9th Cir. 2007). Substantial evidence is
“such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.”
Richardson, 402 U.S. at 401. This Court must review
the record as a whole, weighing both the evidence that
supports and the evidence that detracts from the
Commissioner's conclusion. Lingenfelter, 504
F.3d at 1035. Where evidence is susceptible of more than one
rational interpretation, the Commissioner's decision must
be upheld. See Orn v. Astrue, 495 F.3d 625, 630 (9th
Commissioner (or ALJ) follows a five-step sequential
evaluation process in assessing whether a claimant is
disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920;
Lester v. Chater, 81 F.3d 821, 828 n.5 (9th Cir.
1995), as amended April 9, 1996. In the first step,
the Commissioner must determine whether the claimant is
currently engaged in substantial gainful activity; if so, the
claimant is not disabled and the claim is denied.
Id. If the claimant is not currently engaged in
substantial gainful activity, the second step requires the
Commissioner to determine whether the claimant has a
“severe” impairment or combination of impairments
significantly limiting his ability to do basic work
activities; if not, a finding of nondisability is made and
the claim is denied. Id. If the claimant has a
“severe” impairment or combination of
impairments, the third step requires the Commissioner to
determine whether the impairment or combination of
impairments meets or equals an impairment in the Listing of
Impairments (“Listing”) set forth at 20 C.F.R.
part 404, subpart P, appendix 1; if so, disability is
conclusively presumed and benefits are awarded. Id.
If the claimant's impairment or combination of
impairments does not meet or equal an impairment in the
Listing, the fourth step requires the Commissioner to
determine whether the claimant has sufficient “residual
functional capacity” to perform his past work; if so,
the claimant is not disabled and the claim is denied.
Id. The claimant has the burden of proving that he
is unable to perform past relevant work. Drouin v.
Sullivan, 966 F.2d 1255, 1257 (9th Cir. 1992). If the
claimant meets ...