United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER AFFIRMING DEFENDANT'S DECISION TO DENY
W. Christel United States Magistrate Judge.
Phaysone S. Voravong, proceeding pro se, filed this
action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), for judicial
review of Defendant's denial of his application for
supplemental security income (“SSI”). Pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73
and Local Rule MJR 13, the parties have consented to have
this matter heard by the undersigned Magistrate Judge.
See Dkt. 7.
considering the record, the Court concludes the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) properly
analyzed the medical opinion evidence and Plaintiff's
credibility. The Court also concludes remand under sentence
six is not warranted in this case. As the ALJ's decision
finding Plaintiff not disabled is supported by substantial
evidence, the Commissioner's decision is affirmed
pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
September 20, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for SSI,
alleging disability as of December 11, 2012. See
Dkt. 9, Administrative Record (“AR”) 15. The
application was denied upon initial administrative review and
on reconsideration. See AR 15. A hearing was held
before ALJ Timothy Mangrum on January 13, 2015. See
AR 35-59. In a decision dated June 30, 2015, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff to be not disabled. AR 15-30.
Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision
was denied by the Appeals Council, making the ALJ's
decision the final decision of the Commissioner. See
AR 1-5, 20 C.F.R. § 404.981, § 416.1481.
Opening Brief, it appears Plaintiff is arguing: (1) he
disagrees with the medical opinion evidence and the ALJ's
decision; and (2) the ALJ failed to provide specific, clear,
and convincing reasons for finding Plaintiff's subjective
testimony not entirely credible. Dkt. 11. Plaintiff also
attaches a new medical opinion to his Opening Brief, which he
requests the Court consider. Id.
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. 2005)
(citing Tidwell v. Apfel, 161 F.3d 599, 601 (9th
Whether the ALJ incorrectly interpreted the medical
Opening Brief, Plaintiff argues the ALJ incorrectly
interpreted the medical evidence. Dkt. 11. He also states he
disagrees with several doctors' opinions. Id.
Plaintiff, however, does not articulate any errors in the
ALJ's opinion. Id.
has the burden of demonstrating there are harmful errors in
the ALJ's decision. Shinseki v. Sanders, 556
U.S. 396, 410 (2009). Here, Plaintiff has not alleged any
errors. Rather, he asserts the medical evidence is incorrect
and he disagrees with the ALJ's interpretation of the
evidence. Dkt. 11. Plaintiff is essentially requesting the
Court reweigh the evidence and find the ALJ erred in his
consideration of all the medical evidence. See id.
However, the role of the Court is not to reweigh the evidence
and arrive at an independent conclusion. Smolen, 80
F.3d at 1279. The ALJ is responsible for determining
credibility and resolving ambiguities and conflicts in the
medical evidence. Reddick v. Chater, 157 F.3d 715,
722 (9th Cir. 1998). If the evidence “is susceptible to
more than one rational interpretation, ” including one
supporting the decision of the Commissioner, the
Commissioner's conclusion “must be upheld.”
Thomas v. Barnhart, 278 F.3d 947, 954 (9th Cir.
2002) (citing Morgan, 169 F.3d at 599, 601).
the ALJ discussed all five steps of the sequential evaluation
process. AR 15-30. The ALJ discussed Plaintiff's medical
history in detail. See AR 19-24. He then explained
the weight he assigned to Plaintiff's testimony and the
medical opinion evidence. AR 19-28. The ALJ reviewed the
medical evidence and determined the credibility of the
evidence. AR 19-30. The Court cannot overturn the ALJ's
opinion simply because Plaintiff disagrees with the result.
Accordingly, the Court finds Plaintiff has not shown the ALJ
erred in how the ALJ considered the evidence.
Whether the ALJ provided sufficient reasons for discrediting