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Garrett v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

April 13, 2015

ASHLEY M. GARRETT, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT, INTER ALIA

LONNY R. SUKO, Senior District Judge.

BEFORE THE COURT are the Plaintiff's Motion For Summary Judgment (ECF No. 14) and the Defendant's Motion For Summary Judgment (ECF No. 20).

JURISDICTION

Ashley M. Garrett, Plaintiff, applied for Title XVI Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI) on May 10, 2011. The application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Plaintiff timely requested a hearing and a hearing was held on December 14, 2012, before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Donna W. Shipps. Plaintiff, represented by counsel, testified at the hearing, as did K. Diane Kramer, as a Vocational Expert (VE). On December 27, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. 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. ยง 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 28 years old. She has less than a high school education.

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).

ISSUES

Plaintiff argues the ALJ erred: 1) by discounting Plaintiff's credibility regarding her symptoms and her claimed physical and mental limitations; 2) by discounting the opinions of her treating physician and examining therapist; and 3) by finding Plaintiff does not have any "severe" physical and/or mental impairments.

DISCUSSION

SEQUENTIAL ...


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