United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
TINA M. GUMM, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
ORDER AFFIRMING DEFENDANT'S DECISION TO DENY
Theresa L. Fricke United States Magistrate Judge.
Gumm has brought this matter for judicial review of the
Commissioner's denial of her application for supplemental
security income (SSI) benefits. The parties have consented to
have this matter heard by the undersigned Magistrate Judge.
28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73;
Local Rule MJR 13. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
affirms the Commissioner's decision to deny benefits.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
January 31, 2012, Ms. Gumm filed an application for SSI
benefits, alleging that she became disabled beginning January
9, 2006. Dkt. 11, Administrative Record (AR) 586. That
application was denied on initial administrative review, on
reconsideration, and after a hearing before an administrative
law judge (ALJ). Id. On August 19, 2015, this Court
reversed the ALJ's decision and remanded for further
proceedings. Id. On May 18, 2016, another hearing
was held before a different ALJ, at which Ms. Gumm appeared
and testified, as did a vocational expert. AR 646-81. Ms.
Gumm amended her disability's alleged onset date to
January 31, 2012. AR 586.
written decision on November 14, 2016, the ALJ found that Ms.
Gumm could perform her past relevant work and therefore was
not disabled. AR 586-94. It appears that the Appeals Council
did not assume jurisdiction of the matter, making the
ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision,
which Ms. Gumm appealed in a complaint filed with this Court
on January 13, 2017. Dkt. 3; 20 C.F.R. § 416.1481.
Gumm seeks reversal of the ALJ's decision and remand for
an award of benefits, or in the alternative, for further
administrative proceedings, arguing the ALJ erred:
(1) in evaluating the medical evidence;
(2) in discounting Ms. Gumm's credibility;
(3) in assessing Ms. Gumm's residual functional capacity;
(4) in finding Ms. Gumm could perform her past relevant work.
reasons set forth below, however, the Court disagrees that
the ALJ erred as alleged and therefore affirms the ALJ's
decision to deny benefits.
Commissioner employs a five-step “sequential evaluation
process” to determine whether a claimant is disabled.
20 C.F.R. § 416.920. If the ALJ finds the claimant
disabled or not disabled at any particular step, the ALJ
makes the disability determination at that step and the
sequential evaluation process ends. See id. At issue
here are the ALJ's weighing of the medical evidence, her
determination that Ms. Gumm's subjective claims were not
consistent with the record, and her resulting assessment of
Ms. Gumm's RFC and conclusion that Ms. Gumm could perform
her past work as a receptionist.
Court affirms an ALJ's determination that a claimant is
not disabled if the ALJ applied “proper legal
standards” in weighing the evidence and making the
determination and if “substantial evidence in the
record as a whole supports” that determination.
Hoffman v. Heckler, 785 F.2d 1423, 1425 (9th Cir.
1986). Substantial evidence is “‘such relevant
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.'” Trevizo v.
Berryhill, 862 F.3d 987, 996 (2017) (quoting
Desrosiers v. Sec'y of Health & Human
Servs., 846 F.2d 573, 576 (9th Cir. 1988)). This
requires “‘more than a mere scintilla,
'” though “‘less than a
preponderance'” of the evidence. Id.
(quoting Desrosiers, 846 F.2d at 576).
Court will thus uphold the ALJ's findings if
“inferences reasonably drawn from the record”
support them. Batson v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.
Admin., 359 F.3d 1190, 1193 (9th Cir. 2004). If more
than one rational interpretation can be drawn from the
evidence, then this Court must uphold the ALJ's
interpretation. Allen v. Heckler, 749 F.2d 577, 579
(9th Cir. 1984).
The ALJ's Evaluation of the Medical and ...