United States District Court, Eastern District of Washington
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT, INTER ALIA
LONNY R. SUKO SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
BEFORE THE COURT are the Plaintiff's Motion For Summary Judgment (ECF No. 29) and the Defendant's Motion For Summary Judgment (ECF No. 34).
Sarah Emery, Plaintiff, applied for Title II Disability Insurance benefits (DIB) and Title XVI Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI) on August 20 and August 24, 2010, respectively. The applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. Plaintiff timely requested a hearing and one was held on March 13, 2012, before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Peter F. Belli. Plaintiff, represented by a non-attorney representative, testified at this hearing. Jim Van Eck testified as a Vocational Expert (VE). On May 24, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision finding the Plaintiff not disabled. The Appeals Council denied a request for review and the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner. This decision is appealable to district court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §405(g) and §1383(c)(3).
STATEMENT OF FACTS
The facts have been presented in the administrative transcript, the ALJ's decision, the Plaintiff's and Defendant's briefs, and will only be summarized here. At the time of the administrative hearing, Plaintiff was 31 years old. She has a high school education and past relevant work experience as a child care attendant, delivery driver, retail clerk, waitress, and a clerical librarian. Plaintiff alleges disability since July 25, 2007. Her date last insured for DIB was March 31, 2010.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
"The [Commissioner's] determination that a claimant is not disabled will be upheld if the findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence...." Delgado v. Heckler, 722 F.2d 570, 572 (9th Cir. 1983). Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla, Sorenson v. Weinberger, 514 F.2d 1112, 1119 n.10 (9th Cir. 1975), but less than a preponderance. McAllister v. Sullivan, 888 F.2d 599, 601-602 (9th Cir. 1989); Desrosiers v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 846 F.2d 573, 576 (9th Cir. 1988). "It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S.Ct. 1420 (1971). "[S]uch inferences and conclusions as the [Commissioner] may reasonably draw from the evidence" will also be upheld. Beane v. Richardson, 457 F.2d 758, 759 (9th Cir. 1972); Mark v. Celebrezze, 348 F.2d 289, 293 (9th Cir. 1965). On review, the court considers the record as a whole, not just the evidence supporting the decision of the Commissioner. Weetman v. Sullivan, 877 F.2d 20, 22 (9th Cir. 1989); Thompson v. Schweiker, 665 F.2d 936, 939 (9th Cir. 1982).
It is the role of the trier of fact, not this court to resolve conflicts in evidence. Richardson, 402 U.S. at 400. If evidence supports more than one rational interpretation, the court must uphold the decision of the ALJ. Allen v. Heckler, 749 F.2d 577, 579 (9th Cir. 1984).
A decision supported by substantial evidence will still be set aside if the proper legal standards were not applied in weighing the evidence and making the decision. Brawner v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 839 F.2d 432, 433 (9th Cir. 1987).
Plaintiff argues the ALJ erred in not finding Plaintiff disabled because: 1) the ALJ’s residual functional capacity (RFC) determination is not supported by substantial evidence; 2) the ALJ failed to properly factor Plaintiff’s obesity into his RFC determination; and 3) the ALJ improperly discounted Plaintiff’s credibility regarding her subjective pain complaints and claimed physical limitations.
SEQUENTIAL EVALUATION PROCESS