Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Steven A v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

July 12, 2019

STEVEN A., Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          ORDER

          MICHELLE L. PETERSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff seeks review of the denial of his application for Supplemental Security Income. Plaintiff contends the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) erred by giving res judicata effect to a prior unfavorable ALJ decision, discounting his subjective testimony, and in weighing the medical evidence.[1] (Dkt. # 16 at 2.) As discussed below, the Court AFFIRMS the Commissioner's final decision and DISMISSES the case with prejudice.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was born in 1981, has a high school diploma, and has worked as a home healthcare provider, hospital housekeeper, and temporary laborer. AR at 75, 314. Plaintiff was last gainfully employed in 2016. Id. at 615-21.

         In March 2013, Plaintiff applied for benefits. AR at 36. After the ALJ conducted a hearing on October 2, 2014 (id. at 64-108), the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled on December 16, 2014. Id. at 143-57. The ALJ's decision became administratively final. Id. at 36.

         In February 2015, Plaintiff again applied for benefits, alleging disability as of October 1, 2010. AR at 283-91. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on reconsideration, and Plaintiff requested a hearing. Id. at 192-99, 203-11. The ALJ conducted a hearing on January 11, 2017 (id. at 606-49), and issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. Id. at 36-49.

         Utilizing the five-step disability evaluation process, [2] the ALJ found:

Step one: Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the application date.
Step two: Plaintiff's borderline intellectual functioning, major depressive disorder, and anxiety disorder are severe impairments.
Step three: These impairments do not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment.[3]
Residual Functional Capacity: Plaintiff can perform a full range of work at all exertional levels with additional nonexertional limitations: he can perform simple, routine, repetitive tasks with no requirement to read or comprehend above a third-grade level. He can have no contact with the public and occasional contact with coworkers and supervisors. He should work in a routine and predictable environment with less than occasional changes in work tasks.
Step four: Plaintiff can perform past relevant work.
Step five: In the alternative, there are other jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff can perform. Therefore, Plaintiff is not disabled.

AR at 36-49.

         As the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, the ALJ's decision is the Commissioner's final decision. AR at 6-11. Plaintiff appealed the final decision of the Commissioner to this Court.

         III. LEGAL STANDARDS

         Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court may set aside the Commissioner's denial of social security benefits when 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 (9th Cir. 2005). As a general principle, an ALJ's error may be deemed harmless where it is “inconsequential to the ultimate nondisability determination.” Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1115 (9th Cir. 2012) (cited sources omitted). The Court looks to “the record as a whole to determine whether the error alters the outcome of the case.” Id.

         “Substantial evidence” is more than a scintilla, less than a preponderance, and is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971); Magallanes v. Bowen, 881 F.2d 747, 750 (9th Cir. 1989). The ALJ is responsible for determining credibility, resolving conflicts in medical testimony, and resolving any other ambiguities that might exist. Andrews v. Shalala, 53 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 1995). While the Court is required to examine the record as a whole, it may neither reweigh the evidence nor 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, it is the Commissioner's conclusion that must be upheld. Id.

         IV. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.