United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT, INTER ALIA
R. SUKO SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
THE COURT are the Plaintiff's Motion For Summary
Judgment (ECF No. 13) and the Defendant's Motion For
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 14).
Thomas Wilson, Plaintiff, applied for Title XVI Supplemental
Security Income benefits (SSI) on August 9, 2012. The
application was denied initially and on reconsideration.
Plaintiff timely requested a hearing which was held on
January 23, 2015 before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) R.J.
Payne. Plaintiff testified at the hearing, as did Medical
Expert (ME), Margaret Moore, Ph.D.. A supplemental hearing
was held on May 13, 2015 at which Vocational Expert (VE)
Daniel McKinney testified. On June 10, 2015, the ALJ issued a
decision finding the Plaintiff not disabled. The Appeals
Council denied a request for review of the ALJ's
decision, making that decision the Commissioner's final
decision subject to judicial review. The Commissioner's
final decision is appealable to district court pursuant to 42
U.S.C. §405(g) and §1383(c)(3).
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 hearings, Plaintiff was 53
years old. He has past relevant work experience as a general
clerk, survey worker, sanitor and food deliverer. At the
hearing, Plaintiff amended his alleged disability onset date
to August 10, 2012. On that date, he was 50 years old.
[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).
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).
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).
argues the ALJ erred in discrediting his testimony about his
symptoms and in discounting the opinions of Dr. Mabee.
Social Security Act defines "disability" as the
"inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity
by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental
impairment which can be expected to result in death or which
has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period
of not less than twelve months." 42 U.S.C. §
1382c(a)(3)(A). The Act also provides that a claimant shall
be determined to be under a disability only if his
impairments are of such severity that the claimant is not
only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering
his age, education and work experiences, engage in any other
substantial gainful work which exists in the national
Commissioner has established a five-step sequential
evaluation process for determining whether a person is
disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920; Bowen v.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 140-42, 107 S.Ct. 2287 (1987).
Step one determines if he is engaged in substantial gainful
activities. If he is, benefits are denied. 20 C.F.R. §
416.920(a)(4)(i). If he is not, the decision-maker proceeds
to step two, which determines whether the claimant has a
medically severe impairment or combination of impairments. 20
C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4)(ii). If the claimant does not
have a severe impairment or combination of impairments, the
disability claim is denied. If the impairment is severe, the
evaluation proceeds to the third step, which compares the
claimant's impairment with a number of listed impairments
acknowledged by the Commissioner to be so severe as to
preclude substantial gainful activity. 20 C.F.R. §
416.920(a)(4)(iii); 20 C.F.R. § 404 Subpart P, App. 1.
If the impairment meets or equals one of the listed
impairments, the claimant is conclusively presumed to be
disabled. If the impairment is not one conclusively presumed
to be disabling, the evaluation proceeds to the fourth step
which determines whether the impairment prevents the claimant
from performing work he has performed in the past. If the