United States District Court, C.D. California
CHARLES F. EICK UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
filed a complaint on June 14, 2019, seeking review of the
Commissioner's denial of benefits. The parties consented
to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge on July
31, 2019. Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on
November 6, 2019. Defendant filed a motion for summary
judgment on December 6, 2019. The Court has taken the motions
under submission without oral argument. See L.R.
7-15; “Order, ” filed June 17, 2019.
a former administrative assistant, asserted disability since
September 20, 2013, based on a host of alleged impairments
(Administrative Record (“A.R.”) 68, 229, 267).
The Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) examined the
medical record and heard testimony from Plaintiff at two
hearings (A.R. 12-226, 229-1339).
testimony, Plaintiff alleged pain and other subjective
symptoms of disabling severity (A.R. 40-42, 57-63). She
claimed she suffers “head to toe” pain “all
the time, ” which she rated as a ten on a pain severity
scale of one to ten (A.R. 57). Plaintiff also claimed she
stays in bed “all day, ” uses a walker when out
of bed and needs help even to shower (A.R. 40-41).
written statements, Plaintiff similarly alleged continuous,
extraordinary “complete body pain” (A.R.
1179-81). According to Plaintiff, the “sensation”
of her pain is accurately described as “aching, ”
“cramping, ” “numbing, ”
“stinging, ” “burning, ”
“heavy, ” “sharp, ” “tight,
” “cold, ” “hot, ”
“shooting” and “tingling” (A.R.
1180). According to Plaintiff, all of the following factors
increase her pain: “weather changes, ”
“fatigue, ” “emotional stress, ”
“tension, ” “distraction (T.V., etc.),
” “bowel/bladder function, ”
“coughing or sneezing, ” “heat, ”
“cold, ” “massage, ” “sleep or
rest, ” “medication” and
“alcohol” (A.R. 1181).
most recent administrative decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff
suffers from certain severe impairments, including
degenerative disc disease and fibromyalgia (A.R. 18).
However, the ALJ also found that Plaintiff never lost the
residual functional capacity to perform a range of light
work, including Plaintiff's past relevant work (A.R.
discounted Plaintiff's subjective allegations regarding
her alleged symptomatology (A.R. 20-22). The ALJ expressly
reasoned that Plaintiff's subjective allegations were:
(1) inconsistent with other statements by Plaintiff reflected
in the record; (2) inconsistent with the observations of
third parties reflected in the record; (3) unsupported by the
objective medical evidence contained in the record; (4)
belied by the conservative nature of the treatment received
by Plaintiff; and (5) inconsistent with Plaintiff's lack
of muscle atrophy (id.). The Appeals Council denied
review (A.R. 1-3).
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.
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
Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir.
1999) (citations and quotations ...