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Garcia v. Colvin

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

January 5, 2015

VICTORIA LYNN GARCIA, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

J. RICHARD CREATURA, Magistrate Judge.

This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Fed.R.Civ.P. 73 and Local Magistrate Judge Rule MJR 13 ( see also Notice of Initial Assignment to a U.S. Magistrate Judge and Consent Form, Dkt. 3; Consent to Proceed Before a United States Magistrate Judge, Dkt. 4). This matter has been fully briefed ( see Dkt. 11, 12, 13).

After considering and reviewing the record, the Court concludes that the ALJ did not commit harmful error when evaluating plaintiff's credibility, as he noted, among other things, that plaintiff's testimony was inconsistent with her reports of contemporaneous functioning and other aspects of the treatment record. Although the ALJ's reliance on plaintiff's activities of daily living was not proper, the error is harmless as the ALJ offered other reasons for his failure to credit fully plaintiff's allegations and testimony that are clear and convincing and supported by substantial evidence in the record.

Therefore, this matter is affirmed pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, VICTORIA LYNN GARCIA, was born in 1957 and was 52 years old on the alleged date of disability onset of October 5, 2009 ( see AR. 144-47). Plaintiff completed her high school education and attended a voc-tech for medical administration (AR. 32). She has work experience as a customer service representative in healthcare insurance financial industries (AR. 31-32).

According to the ALJ, plaintiff has at least the severe impairments of "bilateral knee osteoarthritis requiring bilateral replacement, and obesity (20 CFR 404.1520(c))" (AR. 12).

At the time of the hearing, plaintiff was living alone in a duplex (AR. 29).

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff's application for disability insurance ("DIB") benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423 (Title II) of the Social Security Act was denied initially and following reconsideration ( see AR. 55-61, 63-70). Plaintiff's requested hearings were held before Administrative Law Judge Robert P. Kingsley ("the ALJ") on October 16, 2012 and February 13, 2013 ( see AR. 25-46, 47-53). On March 13, 2013, the ALJ issued a written decision in which the ALJ concluded that plaintiff was not disabled pursuant to the Social Security Act ( see AR. 7-24).

In plaintiff's Opening Brief, plaintiff raises the following issues: (1) Whether or not the ALJ erred in adversely assessing plaintiff's credibility; and (2) Whether or not the ALJ's errors were harmless ( see Dkt. 11, p. 1).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court may set aside the Commissioner's denial of social security benefits if the ALJ's findings are based on legal error or not supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Bayliss v. Barnhart, 427 F.3d 1211, 1214 n.1 (9th Cir. ...


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