United States District Court, S.D. California
REPORT & RECOMMENDATION
KAREN S. CRAWFORD, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Report and Recommendation is submitted to the Honorable John
A. Houston, United States District Judge, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 72.1(c) of the
United States District Court for the Southern District of
California. On July 10, 2017, plaintiff Manavy L. filed a
Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking
judicial review of a decision by the Commissioner of Social
Security denying his application for a period of disability
and disability insurance benefits. (Doc. No. 1.) Now pending
before the Court and ready for decision are the parties'
cross-motions for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth
herein, the Court RECOMMENDS plaintiff's motion for
summary judgment be DENIED, the Commissioner's
cross-motion for summary judgment be GRANTED, and Judgment be
entered affirming the decision of the Commissioner and
dismissing this action with prejudice.
March 21, 2014, plaintiff filed an application for a period
of disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social
Security Act, alleging disability beginning on November 5,
2013. (Certified Administrative Record (“AR”)
138-39.) After her application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration (AR 54-64, 65-76), plaintiff requested an
administrative hearing before an administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) (AR 91-92). An administrative hearing was
held on October 8, 2015. Plaintiff appeared at the hearing
with counsel, and testimony was taken from her and a
vocational expert (“VE”). (AR 32-53.)
reflected in his December 21, 2015, hearing decision, the ALJ
found plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from her alleged onset date
through the date of the ALJ's decision. (AR 20-27.) The
ALJ's decision became final on May 26, 2017, when the
Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review.
(AR 1-6.) This timely civil action followed.
SUMMARY OF THE ALJ'S FINDINGS
rendering his decision, the ALJ followed the
Commissioner's five-step sequential evaluation process.
See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920. At
step one, the ALJ found plaintiff did not engage in
substantial gainful activity from November 5, 2013, her
alleged onset date, through the date of the ALJ's
decision. (AR 22.)
two, the ALJ found that plaintiff had the following severe
impairment: cervical radiculopathy. (Id.)
three, the ALJ found plaintiff did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that met or medically equaled one
of the impairments listed in the Commissioner's Listing
of Impairments. (AR 25.)
the ALJ determined plaintiff had the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work as defined
in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(b), with no more than occasional
pushing and pulling with the bilateral upper extremities; no
climbing of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; no more than
frequent climbing or ramps, stairs, balancing, and kneeling;
and no more than occasional crawling or overhead use of the
bilateral upper extremities. (AR 25.)
four, the ALJ determined plaintiff was able to perform her
past relevant work as a postmaster and mail supervisor and,
thusly, he did not proceed to a determination as to whether
plaintiff is able to perform other relevant work, at step
five. (AR 27.)
disputed issues plaintiff has raised as the grounds for
reversal and remand are as follows:
Whether the ALJ failed to properly evaluate the opinions of
plaintiff's treating physician (Doc. No. 10, pp.
Whether the ALJ failed to properly evaluate plaintiff's
subjective complaints and credibility (Id., pp.
Whether the ALJ adequately developed the record in his
questioning of the VE (Id., pp.
Whether the ALJ erred in finding plaintiff's RFC will
allow her to perform her past relevant work (Id.,
STANDARD OF REVIEW
42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court reviews the
Commissioner's decision to determine whether the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence and whether the proper legal standards were applied.
DeLorme v. Sullivan, 924 F.2d 841, 846 (9th Cir.
1991). Substantial evidence means “more than a mere
scintilla” but less than a preponderance.
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971);
Desrosiers v. Sec'y of Health & Human
Servs., 846 F.2d 573, 575-76 (9th Cir. 1988).
Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Richardson, 402 U.S. at 401. This
Court must review the record as a whole and consider adverse
as well as supporting evidence. Green v. Heckler,
803 F.2d 528, 529-30 (9th Cir. 1986). Where evidence is
susceptible of more than one rational interpretation, the
Commissioner's decision must be upheld. Gallant v.
Heckler, 753 F.2d 1450, 1452 (9th Cir. 1984).
Reversal is not warranted based on the ALJ's alleged
failure to properly evaluate the opinion of Plaintiff's
treating physician, Dr. Muy.
contends the ALJ erred by failing to provide clear and
convincing reasons for rejecting the opinion of Dr. Madineth
Muy, which plaintiff contends is ...