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.

Patricia A. F. v. Saul

United States District Court, C.D. California

December 13, 2019

PATRICIA A. F., [1] Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW M. SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER REVERSING AND REMANDING DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER

          ALEXANDER F. MACKINNON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff seeks review of the Commissioner's final decision denying her application for Social Security disability insurance benefits. In accordance with the Court's case management order, the parties have filed briefs addressing the merits of the disputed issues. This matter is now ready for decision.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed an application for Social Security disability insurance benefits on November 17, 2014, claiming a disability onset date of October 29, 2014. (Administrative Record (“AR”) 125, 209.) Her claim was initially denied on April 29, 2015 and upon reconsideration. (AR 141-145.) Plaintiff testified at a hearing held on September 5, 2017. (AR 44-104.) Also testifying was a vocational expert (“VE”). (AR 44-104.) On February 28, 2018, Plaintiff was notified of an unfavorable decision by the ALJ. (AR 14-33.) The Appeals Council denied review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision. (AR 1-4.)

         DISPUTED ISSUES

         1. Whether the ALJ properly evaluated the medical evidence of record.

         2. Whether the ALJ properly evaluated Plaintiff's subjective symptom complaints.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the 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. See Treichler v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec. Admin., 775 F.3d 1090, 1098 (9th Cir. 2014). Substantial evidence means “more than a mere scintilla” but less than a preponderance. See Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971); Lingenfelter v. Astrue, 504 F.3d 1028, 1035 (9th Cir. 2007). The Court reviews the record as a whole, weighing both the evidence that supports and the evidence that detracts from the Commissioner's conclusion. Lingenfelter, 504 F.3d at 1035. Where evidence is susceptible of more than one rational interpretation, the Commissioner's decision must be upheld. See Orn v. Astrue, 495 F.3d 625, 630 (9th Cir. 2007); Batson v. Comm'r of the Soc. Sec. Admin., 359 F.3d 1190, 1196 (9th Cir. 2004) (“When evidence reasonably supports either confirming or reversing the ALJ's decision, [the court] may not substitute [its] judgment for that of the ALJ.”).

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff contends that the ALJ failed to properly evaluate her credibility and subjective complaints.

         A. Relevant Law

         Where, as here, a claimant has presented evidence of an underlying impairment that could reasonably be expected to produce pain or other symptoms, the ALJ must “evaluate the intensity and persistence of [the] individual's symptoms . . . and determine the extent to which [those] symptoms limit his . . . ability to perform work-related activities . . . .” SSR 16-3p, 2016 WL 1119029, at *4. Absent a finding that the claimant is malingering, an ALJ must provide specific, clear and convincing reasons before rejecting a claimant's testimony about the severity of his symptoms. Trevizo v. Berryhill, 871 F.3d 664, 678 (9th Cir. 2017) (citing Garrison v. Colvin, 759 F.3d 995, 1014-1015 (9th Cir. 2014)).

         “General findings [regarding a claimant's credibility] are insufficient; rather, the ALJ must identify what testimony is not credible and what evidence undermines the claimant's complaints.” Burrell v. Colvin, 775 F.3d 1133, 1138 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting Lester v. Chater, 81 F.3d 821, 834 (9th Cir. 1995)). The ALJ's findings “must be sufficiently specific to allow a reviewing court to conclude the adjudicator rejected the claimant's testimony on permissible grounds and did not arbitrarily discredit a claimant's testimony regarding pain.” Brown-Hunter v. Colvin, 806 F.3d 487, 493 (9th Cir. 2015) (quoting Bunnell v. Sullivan, 947 F.2d 341, 345-346 (9th Cir. 1991) (en banc)). Factors an ALJ may consider when making such a determination include the objective medical evidence, the claimant's treatment history, the ...


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.