United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER AFFIRMING DEFENDANT'S DECISION TO DENY
THERESA L. FRICKE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
W. has brought this matter for judicial review of
defendant's denial of his applications for disability
insurance and 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.
Plaintiff seeks reversal of the ALJ's decision and
requests that the Court remand for an award of benefits. For
the reasons set forth below, the Court affirms the
defendant's decision to deny benefits.
filed applications for disability insurance and supplemental
security income benefits in February and March 2011, alleging
he became disabled as of June 9, 2009. Dkt. 6, Administrative
Record (AR) 1306. Both applications were denied at the
initial and reconsideration administrative review levels, and
an administrative law judge (ALJ) issued an unfavorable
decision after a hearing. Id.
plaintiff's third appeal of his case to this Court. In
deciding his two prior appeals, in 2014 and 2016, this Court
remanded based on errors in the ALJ decision. See AR
790, 1418. In the most recent decision, this Court reversed
the ALJ's decision on only one issue: the amount of
weight to give two opinions from an examining psychologist,
Shawn Kenderdine, Ph.D. AR 1420-32.
remand, the ALJ held another hearing. AR 1334-52. Plaintiff
testified, as did a vocational expert. Id. In a
written decision, the ALJ found at step five that before
plaintiff's job category changed on August 16, 2016, he
could perform jobs existing in significant numbers in the
national economy and therefore was not disabled. AR 1322-23.
Plaintiff filed a complaint with this Court, seeking reversal
and remand for an award of benefits for this period. Dkt. 1.
Court will uphold an ALJ's decision unless: (1) the
decision is based on legal error; or (2) the decision is not
supported by substantial evidence. Revels v.
Berryhill, 874 F.3d 648, 654 (9th Cir. 2017).
Substantial evidence is “‘such relevant evidence
as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.'” Biestek v. Berryhill, 139
S.Ct. 1148, 1154 (2019) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co.
v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)). This requires
“more than a mere scintilla, ” though “less
than a preponderance” of the evidence. Id.;
Trevizo v. Berryhill, 871 F.3d 664, 674-75 (9th Cir.
Court must consider the administrative record as a whole.
Garrison v. Colvin, 759 F.3d 995, 1009 (9th Cir.
2014). The Court is required to weigh both the evidence that
supports, and evidence that does not support, the ALJ's
conclusion. Id. The Court may not affirm the
decision of the ALJ for a reason upon which the ALJ did not
rely. Id. Only the reasons identified by the ALJ are
considered in the scope of the Court's review.
the evidence admits of more than one rational interpretation,
” that decision must be upheld. Allen v.
Heckler, 749 F.2d 577, 579 (9th Cir. 1984). That is,
“[w]here there is conflicting evidence sufficient to
support either outcome, ” the Court “must affirm
the decision actually made.” Id. at 579
(quoting Rhinehart v. Finch, 438 F.2d 920, 921 (9th
the ALJ err in rejecting opinions from a psychologist who
Commissioner uses a five-step sequential evaluation process
to determine if a claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520, 416.920. The Commissioner assesses a
claimant's residual functional capacity (RFC) to
determine, at step four of the process, whether past relevant
work can be performed, and, if necessary, to determine at
step five whether the claimant can adjust to other work.
Kennedy v. Colvin, 738 F.3d 1172, 1175 (9th Cir.
2013). At step five, the ALJ has the burden of proof, which
can be met by showing a significant number of jobs exist in