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.

Applegate v. Saul

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 20, 2019

JON JON CONWAY APPLEGATE, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          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 undersigned recommends that plaintiff's motion for summary judgment be denied and the Commissioner's cross-motion for summary judgment be granted.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, born in 1966, applied on November 4, 2013 for SSI and disability insurance benefits, alleging disability beginning August 29, 2013. Administrative Transcript (“AT”) 18, 28. Plaintiff alleged he was unable to work due to depression, schizophrenia, hearing voices, back injury, and right knee injury. AT 93. In a decision dated September 21, 2016, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled.[1] AT 18-30. The ALJ made the following findings (citations to 20 C.F.R. omitted):

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2018.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since August 29, 2013, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: thoracic spine compression fracture; bilateral sacral joint degenerative changes; meniscal tear of the right knee, status post arthroscopy and meniscectomy; history of lumbar fusion surgery; depression; and a pain disorder.
4. 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.
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work except he can occasionally climb, kneel, crouch, and crawl; can frequently balance and stoop; must avoid concentrated exposure to hazards such as dangerous machinery, unprotected heights, and uneven surfaces; and can perform simple tasks in a setting with few workplace changes and no more than occasional interaction with the general public and coworkers.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.[2]
7. The claimant was born on XX/XX/1966 and was 47 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49 on the alleged disability onset date. The claimant subsequently changed age category to closely approaching advanced age.
8. The claimant has at least a high-school education and is able to communicate in English.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from August 29, 2013 through the date of this decision.

         AT 20-29.

         ISSUES PRESENTED

         Plaintiff argues that the ALJ committed the following errors in finding plaintiff not disabled: (1) the ALJ improperly rejected the treating doctor's opinion; (2) the ALJ improperly rejected plaintiff's testimony; and (3) the ALJ's step five finding is not supported by substantial evidence.

         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

         A. Med ...


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.