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Lara v. Colvin

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

November 27, 2013

MARGARET GARZA LARA, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

BRIAN A. TSUCHIDA, Magistrate Judge.

Margaret Garza Lara seeks review of the denial of her Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits applications. She contends the ALJ erred by (1) improperly rejecting certain medical opinions; (2) improperly discounting her credibility; and (3) failing to account for all of her limitations in the residual functional capacity ("RFC") assessment and vocational expert ("VE") hypothetical. Dkt. 17 at 2. As discussed below, the Court recommends AFFIRMING the Commissioner's final decision and DISMISSING the case.

BACKGROUND

Ms. Lara is currently 58 years old, graduated from high school and has six months of vocational college education, and has worked as a cashier, caregiver, bill collector, retail assistant manager, and receptionist.[1] On March 5, 2010, she applied for benefits, alleging disability as of May 23, 2008. Tr. 144-52. Her applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. Tr. 70-85, 87-97. The ALJ conducted a hearing on July 26, 2011 (Tr. 32-41), and November 21, 2011 (Tr. 42-65), and subsequently found Ms. Lara not disabled. Tr. 12-26. As the Appeals Council denied Ms. Lara's request for review, the ALJ's decision is the Commissioner's final decision. Tr. 1-6.

THE ALJ'S DECISION

Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process, [2] the ALJ found:

Step one: Ms. Lara had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 23, 2008.
Step two: Ms. Lara's fibromyalgia; lumbar spine degenerative disc disease; degenerative joint disease; scoliosis; ischemic heart disease; osteoarthritis of the bilateral hips and sacroiliac joints; asthma; and obesity are severe impairments.
Step three: These impairments did not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[3]
RFC: Ms. Lara can perform sedentary work. She can lift ten pounds occasionally and less than ten pounds frequently; stand and/or walk at least two hours in an eight-hour workday; and sit for about six hours in an eight-hour workday. She should avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold and extreme heat. She should avoid concentrated exposure to vibration, and should avoid even moderate exposure to fumes, odors, gases, poor ventilation, and hazards.
Step four: Ms. Lara can perform her past work as a receptionist, and is therefore not disabled.

Tr. 12-26.

DISCUSSION

A. Medical ...


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