Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

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.

Miranda v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 11, 2017

NANCY A. BERRYHILL[1], Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.



         Genevieve Miranda asserts she is entitled to a period of disability and disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act. Plaintiff seeks judicial review of the decision denying her application for benefits, asserting the administrative law judge erred in evaluating the record, including the credibility of her subjective complaints. Because the ALJ failed to apply the proper legal standards, the matter is REMANDED for further proceedings pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).


         Plaintiff filed applications for benefits on September 27, 2012, in which she alleged disability beginning June 18, 2012. (Doc. 9-3 at 13) The Social Security Administration denied the applications at the initial level and upon reconsideration. (Id.; Doc. 9-5 at 2-11) Plaintiff requested a hearing, and testified before an ALJ on September 8, 2014. (Doc. 9-3 at 13) The ALJ determined Plaintiff was not disabled under the Social Security Act, and issued an order denying benefits on October 3, 2014. (Id. at 14-20) Plaintiff filed a request for review of the decision with the Appeals Council, which denied the request on February 9, 2016. (Id. at 2-4) Therefore, the ALJ's determination became the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security.


         District courts have a limited scope of judicial review for disability claims after a decision by the Commissioner to deny benefits under the Social Security Act. When reviewing findings of fact, such as whether a claimant was disabled, the Court must determine whether the Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial evidence or is based on legal error. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The ALJ's determination that the claimant is not disabled must be upheld by the Court if the proper legal standards were applied and the findings are supported by substantial evidence. See Sanchez v. Sec'y of Health & Human Serv., 812 F.2d 509, 510 (9th Cir. 1987).

         Substantial evidence is “more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (quoting Consol. Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197 (1938)). The record as a whole must be considered, because “[t]he court must consider both evidence that supports and evidence that detracts from the ALJ's conclusion.” Jones v. Heckler, 760 F.2d 993, 995 (9th Cir. 1985).


         To qualify for benefits under the Social Security Act, Plaintiff must establish she is unable to engage in substantial gainful activity due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(A). An individual shall be considered to have a disability only if:

his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work, but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy, regardless of whether such work exists in the immediate area in which he lives, or whether a specific job vacancy exists for him, or whether he would be hired if he applied for work.

42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(B). The burden of proof is on a claimant to establish disability. Terry v. Sullivan, 903 F.2d 1273, 1275 (9th Cir. 1990). If a claimant establishes a prima facie case of disability, the burden shifts to the Commissioner to prove the claimant is able to engage in other substantial gainful employment. Maounis v. Heckler, 738 F.2d 1032, 1034 (9th Cir. 1984).


         To achieve uniform decisions, the Commissioner established a sequential five-step process for evaluating a claimant's alleged disability. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920(a)-(f). The process requires the ALJ to determine whether Plaintiff (1) engaged in substantial gainful activity during the period of alleged disability, (2) had medically determinable severe impairments (3) that met or equaled one of the listed impairments set forth in 20 C.F.R. § 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1; and whether Plaintiff (4) had the residual functional capacity to perform to past relevant work or (5) the ability to perform other work existing in significant numbers at the state and national level. Id. The ALJ must consider testimonial and objective medical evidence. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1527, 416.927.

         A. Relevant Medical Evidence

         In January 2011, Plaintiff was working as a teacher's aide. (Doc. 9-8 at 4) Plaintiff had a “fast heartbeat while sitting” and reported that she thought she had anxiety. (Id.) She was diagnosed with atherosclerotic heart disease, angina, diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. (Id. at 7)

         In February 2011, Plaintiff had a cardiac stress test, ultrasound, and echocardiographic report. (Doc. 9-8 at 9-11) Dr. Reddy found “no reversible or fixed perfusion defect, ” and Plaintiff's heart had “a normal left ventricular chamber size, all thickness, and wall motion.” (Id. at 9) Dr. Reddy also found the ultrasound results were normal. (Id. at 10) However, with the echocardiographic report, Dr. Reddy found Plaintiff had “[m]ild concentric left ventricular hypertrophy.” (Id. at 11)

         Dr. Reddy again administered a cardiac treadmill stress test a year later, in February 2012. (Doc. 9-8 at 22) Dr. Reddy found the results were normal, and “reveal[ed] no reversible or fixed perfusion defect.” (Id.)

         In April 2012, Plaintiff described having “many years of dysesthesia in the lower extremities” to Dr. Yao Lin. (Doc. 9-8 at 31) She reported that she had “a burning pain” in the plantar region of her feet, which was “associated with [a] similar symptom in the lateral forelegs.” (Id.) In addition, Plaintiff complained of pain in her lower back, which was not associated with muscle spasms or weakness. (Id.) Dr. Lin found Plaintiff had “5/5 strength in all four extremities, ” but her reflexes were “1/4 in ...

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.