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.

Sherod O. J. v. Saul

United States District Court, C.D. California

July 16, 2019

SHEROD O. J., Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW M. SAUL, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          CHARLES F. EICK UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         PROCEEDINGS

         Plaintiff filed a complaint on November 9, 2018, seeking review of the Commissioner's denial of disability benefits. The parties filed a consent to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge on January 29, 2019. Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on May 10, 2019. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on June 10, 2019. The Court has taken the motions under submission without oral argument. See L.R. 7-15; “Order, ” filed November 14, 2018.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff asserted disability since June 11, 2015, based on alleged: bipolar disorder with auditory hallucinations; a history of congestive heart failure with non-ischemic cardiomyopathy; glaucoma; and lower back pain (Administrative Record (“A.R.”) 351, 449, 477, 484, 511). An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) reviewed the record and heard testimony from Plaintiff and a vocational expert (A.R. 27-38, 347-68, 382-874).[1] The ALJ found that Plaintiff suffers from severe non-ischemic cardiomyopathy and a history of congestive heart failure which restrict Plaintiff to a limited range of light work (A.R. 31, 34). The ALJ relied on a vocational expert's testimony to find Plaintiff capable of performing jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy (A.R. 37 (adopting vocational expert's testimony at A.R. 365-66)). The ALJ found Plaintiff not disabled from June 11, 2015 through November 17, 2017 - the date of the ALJ's decision (A.R. 37-38).

         Plaintiff then submitted to the Appeals Council additional medical records regarding treatment during the alleged disability period. See A.R. 2; see also A.R. 42-312 (Kedren Community Health Center and Harbor-UCLA records). The Appeals Council declined to “exhibit” these records, finding no reasonable probability that the evidence would change the outcome of the decision (A.R. 2). The Appeals Council denied review (A.R. 1-4).

         Plaintiff stipulates to the ALJ's summary and assessment of the effects of his cardiovascular disease. However, Plaintiff contends that the ALJ erred by finding Plaintiff's alleged mental impairments not severe and by adopting a mental residual functional capacity supposedly not supported by substantial evidence. See Plaintiff's Motion, pp. 4, 8-10.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under 42 U.S.C. section 405(g), this Court reviews the Administration's decision to determine if: (1) the Administration's findings are supported by substantial evidence; and (2) the Administration used correct legal standards. See Carmickle v. Commissioner, 533 F.3d 1155, 1159 (9th Cir. 2008); Hoopai v. Astrue, 499 F.3d 1071, 1074 (9th Cir. 2007); see also Brewes v. Commissioner, 682 F.3d 1157, 1161 (9th Cir. 2012). Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (citation and quotations omitted); see also Widmark v. Barnhart, 454 F.3d 1063, 1066 (9th Cir. 2006).

If the evidence can support either outcome, the court may not substitute its judgment for that of the ALJ. But the Commissioner's decision cannot be affirmed simply by isolating a specific quantum of supporting evidence.
Rather, a court must consider the record as a whole, weighing both evidence that supports and evidence that detracts from the [administrative] conclusion.

Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999) (citations and quotations omitted).

         Where, as here, the Appeals Council “considers new evidence in deciding whether to review a decision of the ALJ, that evidence becomes part of the administrative record, which the district court must consider when reviewing the Commissioner's final decision for substantial evidence.” Brewes v. Commissioner, 682 F.3d at 1163. “[A]s a practical matter, the final decision of the Commissioner includes the Appeals Council's denial of review, and the additional evidence considered by that body is evidence upon which the findings and decision complained ...


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.