United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
TINA M. BELLOMY, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER AND DISMISSING THE
A. TSUCHIDA, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Bellomy seeks review of the denial of her applications for
Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance
Benefits. She contends the ALJ's residual functional
capacity finding is erroneous because neither the objective
medical evidence nor any medical opinion provides substantial
evidence to support it. Dkt. 8. The AFFIRMS
the Commissioner's final decision and
DISMISSES the case with prejudice.
Bellomy is currently 45 years old, has completed an
associate's degree, and has worked as a bookkeeper,
credit clerk, data entry clerk, cashier, and gambling dealer.
Tr. 55, 85, 220. She applied for benefits in July 2013,
alleging disability as of April 2013. Tr. 220, 227. After her
applications were denied initially and on reconsideration,
the ALJ conducted a hearing and, on September 23, 2016,
issued a decision finding Ms. Bellomy not disabled. Tr.
20-34. The Appeals Council denied Ms. Bellomy's request
for review, making the ALJ's decision the
Commissioner's final decision. Tr. 1.
the five-step disability evaluation process,  the ALJ found
that Ms. Bellomy had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the alleged onset date; she had the following
severe impairments: degenerative joint disease of the knees,
right patella femoral osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis and
degenerative joint disease of the shoulders, back disorder,
asthma, diabetes mellitus, varicose veins, seizures and
headache, and obesity; and that these impairments did not
meet or equal the requirements of a listed
impairment. Tr. 22-23. The ALJ found that Ms. Bellomy
had the residual functional capacity to perform light work
except as follows: she could stand and or walk about 6 hours
in an 8-hour workday; she could push and pull frequently; she
could climb ramps and stairs and stoop frequently; she could
never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; she could
occasionally kneel, crouch, or crawl; she could frequently
reach overhead bilaterally; she could tolerate occasional
exposure to excessive vibration, atmospherics, and hazards;
and she could tolerate no exposure to unprotected heights.
Tr. 24. The ALJ found that Ms. Bellomy was capable of
performing her past work as a bookkeeper, credit clerk, data
entry clerk, and cashier as those jobs are performed in the
national economy. Tr. 33. The ALJ found that she was
therefore not disabled. Tr. 33-34.
Objective medical evidence
Bellomy asserts that certain objective medical evidence is
inconsistent with the ALJ's RFC assessment; she details
various imaging, testing, and physical examination results
related to her knees, lungs, right shoulder, and low back.
Dkt. 8 at 3-5. For each of these impairments, Ms. Bellomy
asserts that the findings she lists are inconsistent with
some aspect of the ALJ's RFC finding. She concludes,
“Consequently, the objective medical evidence
concerning Bellomy's knees, lungs, shoulder, or low back
does not constitute objective medical evidence in support of
the ALJ's RFC finding.” Dkt. 8 at 5.
Bellomy does not offer any explanation as to how the evidence
she identifies undermines the ALJ's RFC finding. She
merely presents the evidence and makes a conclusory statement
that it is inconsistent with the RFC finding. To the extent
Ms. Bellomy has identified conflicts in the evidence, it is
the ALJ, not this Court, who resolves such conflicts.
Andrews v. Shalala, 53 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir.
1995). And to the extent Ms. Bellomy seeks an interpretation
of the evidence that is different from the ALJ's, this
Court may not reweigh the evidence or substitute its judgment
for that of the Commissioner. Thomas v. Barnhart,
278 F.3d 947, 954 (9th Cir. 2002). When the evidence is
susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the
Court must uphold the Commissioner's conclusion.
Id. Ms. Bellomy has not shown that the ALJ's
interpretation of the evidence was not rational. She simply
invites the Court to come to a different conclusion about the
meaning of the evidence than ALJ did. This the Court cannot
do. Ms. Bellomy has not shown an error in the ALJ's
analysis of the objective medical evidence or that the
objective medical evidence does not support the ALJ's RFC
Bellomy asserts that there are no medical opinions that are
consistent with or support the ALJ's RFC finding, such
that no medical opinion provides substantial evidence to
support the RFC finding. Dkt. 8 at 5.
Ignacio, M.D., reviewed the evidence in November 2013 and
opined that Ms. Bellomy could perform a reduced range of
light work, including a limitation to standing or walking for
4 hours in an 8-hour workday. Tr. 145. The ALJ gave Dr.
Ignacio's opinion significant weight, finding that it was
consistent with the evidence available at the time of his
review, but the ALJ stated he considered the additional