Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
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.

Fox v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 9, 2018

DEBORAH ANN FOX, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER

          CAROLYN K. DELANEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff 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 judgment.[1]

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, 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.[2] 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.

         6. The claimant was born on May 11, 1967, which is defined as a younger individual age 45-49 on the date the application was filed.

7. The claimant has at least a high-school 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 July 15, 2013, the date the application was filed.

         AT 18-25.

         ISSUES PRESENTED

         Plaintiff 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.

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         The 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).

         The 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).

         ANALYSIS

         Plaintiff 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.

         The 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 ...


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.