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 May 11, 1967, applied on July 15, 2013 for SSI, alleging
disability beginning January 1, 2012. Administrative
Transcript (“AT”) 150-151. Plaintiff alleged she
was unable to work due to knee pain, leg pain, and
depression. AT 151. In a decision dated February 18, 2016,
the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not
disabled. AT 16-25. The ALJ made the following
findings (citations to 20 C.F.R. omitted):
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since July 16, 2013, the application date.
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: status
post right total knee, arthroplasty; left knee arthritis; and
a major depressive disorder.
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, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform sedentary work, except she is
limited to simple, repetitive tasks; should avoid
concentrated exposure to fumes, odors, dust and gases; no
work around hazards, such as heights and moving machinery; no
extreme temperatures; no public contact; and only occasional,
superficial contact with others.5. The
claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
The claimant was born on May 11, 1967, which is defined as
a younger individual age 45-49 on the date the application
7. The claimant has at least a high-school education and
is able to communicate in English.
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.
The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in
the Social Security Act, since July 15, 2013, the date the
application was filed.
argues that the ALJ committed the following error in finding
plaintiff not disabled: The ALJ failed to properly evaluate
the opinion of consultative psychologist Dr. Charles Odipo.
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, 1229-30 (9th Cir. 1987), and may
be set aside only if an improper legal standard was applied
in weighing the evidence. See Burkhart v. Bowen, 856
F.2d 1335, 1338 (9th Cir. 1988).
contends that the ALJ did not provide specific and legitimate
reasons for discounting in part the opinion of Dr. Odipo, who
conducted a mental status examination of plaintiff on
February 15, 2014. AT 359-362. Plaintiff argues that if Dr.
Odipo's opinion were properly credited, a finding of
disability due to depression would be warranted.
weight given to medical opinions depends in part on whether
they are proffered by treating, examining, or non-examining
professionals. Lester v. Chater, 81 F.3d 821, 830
(9th Cir. 1995). Ordinarily, more weight is given to the
opinion of a treating professional, who has a greater
opportunity to know and observe ...