United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
O. RICE, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
THE COURT are the parties' cross-motions for summary
judgment (ECF Nos. 15; 16). This matter was submitted for
consideration without oral argument. The Court has reviewed
the administrative record and the parties' completed
briefing, and is fully informed. For the reasons discussed
below, the Court GRANTS Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 16) and
DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for Summary
Judgment (ECF No. 15).
Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§
seeks judicial review of the Commissioner's final
decision denying her disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income under Title II and XVI of the
Social Security Act. Plaintiff raises two issues for this
(1) Whether the ALJ improperly discredited Plaintiff's
(2) Whether the ALJ improperly weighed medical opinion
ECF No. 15 at 12. The Court evaluates each issue in turn.
district court's review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security is governed by 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). The scope of review under §405(g) is
limited: the Commissioner's decision will be disturbed
“only if it is not supported by substantial evidence or
is based on legal error.” Hill v. Astrue, 698
F.3d 1153, 1158 (9th Cir. 2012). “Substantial
evidence” means relevant evidence that “a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Id. at 1159 (quotation and
citation omitted). This requires “more than a mere
scintilla[, ] but less than a preponderance.”
Id. (quotation and citation omitted). “An ALJ
can satisfy the ‘substantial evidence' requirement
by ‘setting out a detailed and thorough summary of the
facts and conflicting clinical evidence, stating his
interpretation thereof, and making findings.'”
Garrison, 759 F.3d at 1012) (quoting Reddick v.
Chater, 157 F.3d 715, 725 (9th Cir. 1998)). In
determining whether this standard has been satisfied, a
reviewing court must consider the entire record as a whole
rather than searching for supporting evidence in isolation.
reviewing a denial of benefits, a district court may not
substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner. If the
evidence in the record “is susceptible to more than one
rational interpretation, [the court] must uphold the
ALJ's findings if they are supported by inferences
reasonably drawn from the record.” Molina v.
Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1111 (9th Cir. 2012). Further, a
district court “may not reverse an ALJ's decision
on account of an error that is harmless.” Id.
An error is harmless “where it is inconsequential to
the [ALJ's] ultimate nondisability determination.”
Id. at 1115 (quotation and citation omitted). The
party appealing the ALJ's decision generally bears the
burden of establishing that it was harmed. Shinseki v.
Sanders, 556 U.S. 396, 409-10 (2009). We review only the
reasons provided by the ALJ in the disability determination
and may not affirm the ALJ on a ground upon which the ALJ did
not rely. Orn v. Astrue, 495 F.3d 625, 630 (9th Cir.
2007) (citing Connett v. Barnhart, 340 F.3d 871, 874
(9th Cir. 2003)).
SEQUENTIAL EVALUATION PROCESS
claimant must satisfy two conditions to be considered
“disabled” within the meaning of the Social
Security Act. First, the claimant must be “unable 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. §§ 423(d)(1)(A),
1382c(a)(3)(A). Second, the claimant's impairment must be
“of such severity that he is not only unable to do his
previous work[, ] but cannot, considering his age, ...