United States District Court, E.D. California
F. BRENNAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner
of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying her
applications for a period of disability and Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI
of the Social Security Act. The parties have filed
cross-motions for summary judgment and for the reasons
discussed below, plaintiff's motion for summary judgment
is denied and the Commissioner's motion is granted.
filed applications for a period of disability, DIB, and SSI,
alleging that she has been disabled since January 31, 2012.
Administrative Record (“AR”) 205-21.
Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and upon
reconsideration. Id. at 129-33, 138-44. On November
6, 2014, a hearing was held before administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) Bradlee S. Welton. Id. at 33-73.
Plaintiff was represented by counsel at the hearing, and
plaintiff, her sister, and a vocational expert testified.
March 4, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding that
plaintiff was not disabled under sections 216(i), 223(d), and
1614(a)(3)(A) of the Act. Id. at 17-28. The ALJ made the
following specific findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through March 31, 2015 (Exhibit 4D/1).
2. The claimant engaged in substantial gainful activity
during the following periods: 2nd quarter of 2013 and some
months of 2012 (20 CFR 404.1520(b), 404.1571 et
seq., 416.920(b) and 416.971 et seq.).
* * *
3. However, there has been a continuous 12-month period(s)
during which the claimant did not engage in substantial
gainful activity. The remaining findings address the
period(s) the claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
4. The claimant has the following severe impairments: bipolar
disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (20 CFR 404.1520(c)
* * *
5. The claimant 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 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526,
416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
* * *
6. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all
exertional levels but with the following nonexertional
limitations: The claimant can perform simple, repetitive,
routine tasks in a low stress job environment requiring only
occasional decision-making, only occasional changes in the
work setting, and only occasional requirements for exercising
judgment, with no fast-paced production rate work, with no
interaction with the public and only occasional interaction
with coworkers, but no tandem tasks; and the claimant may
miss one day of work per month due to interference from
* * *
7. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work
(20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
* * *
8. The claimant was born [in] 1984 and was 27 years old,
which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the
alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).
9. The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964).
10. 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 (See SSR 82-41
and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
11. 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 (20 CFR 404.1569, 404.1569(a),
416.969, and 416.969(a)).
* * *
12. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from January 31, 2012, through
the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and
Id. at 19-27.
request for Appeals Council review was denied on August 3,
2016, leaving the ALJ's decision as the final decision of
the Commissioner. Id. at 1-4.
Commissioner's decision that a claimant is not disabled
will be upheld if the findings of fact are supported by
substantial evidence in the record and the proper legal
standards were applied. Schneider v. Comm'r of the
Soc. Sec. Admin., 223 F.3d 968, 973 (9th Cir. 2000);
Morgan v. Comm'r of the Soc. Sec. Admin., 169
F.3d 595, 599 (9th Cir. 1999); Tackett v. Apfel, 180
F.3d 1094, 1097 (9th Cir. 1999).
findings of the Commissioner as to any fact, if supported by
substantial evidence, are conclusive. See Miller v.
Heckler, 770 F.2d 845, 847 (9th Cir. 1985). Substantial
evidence is more than a mere scintilla, but less than a
preponderance. Saelee v. Chater, 94 F.3d 520, 521
(9th Cir. 1996). “‘It means such 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.
N.L.R.B., 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)).
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). “Where
the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational
interpretation, one of which supports the ALJ's decision,
the ALJ's conclusion must be upheld.” Thomas v.
Barnhart, 278 F.3d 947, 954 (9th Cir. 2002). ECF No. 13
argues that the ALJ erred (1) in evaluating the medical
opinion evidence, and (2) by rejecting her testimony and
third-party statement absent sufficient reasons. ECF No. 11
The ALJ Properly Weighed the Medical ...