United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER AFFIRMING DEFENDANT'S DECISION TO DENY
Theresa L. Fricke, United States Magistrate Judge.
B. has brought this matter for judicial review of
defendant's denial of her application for disability
insurance 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 below, the undersigned affirms
defendant's decision to deny benefits.
ISSUE FOR REVEW
ALJ give adequate reasons to discount the opinion of
reviewing psychologist John Wolfe, Ph.D.?
applied for disability insurance benefits in August 2013,
alleging she became disabled as of December 26, 2011. Dkt. 6,
Administrative Record (AR) 11. Her application was denied at
the initial and reconsideration levels of administrative
review. Id. After a hearing, an administrative law
judge (ALJ) issued an unfavorable decision in February 2015.
Id. Plaintiff appealed, and this Court remanded.
See AR 437-44.
another hearing (held on December 7, 2018), an ALJ issued
another unfavorable written decision on June 4, 2018. AR 355;
AR 370-400 (hearing transcript). The ALJ performed the
five-step sequential analysis. AR 355-64. He determined that
there were jobs existing in significant numbers in the
national economy that plaintiff could perform, and therefore
that plaintiff was not disabled. AR 363-64. Plaintiff filed a
complaint with this Court, seeking reversal and remand for
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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
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. (quoting Rhinehart v.
Finch, 438 F.2d 920, 921 (9th Cir. 1971)).
Commissioner uses a five-step sequential evaluation process
to determine whether a claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520. At step four of that process, the claimant's
residual functional capacity (RFC) is assessed to determine
whether past relevant work can be performed, and, if
necessary, at step five to determine whether an adjustment to
other work can be made. Kennedy v. Colvin, 738 F.3d
1172, 1175 (9th Cir. 2013). At step five, the Commissioner
has the burden of proof, which can be met by showing a
significant number of jobs exist in the national economy that
the claimant can perform. Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d
1094, 1099 (9th Cir. 1999); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(e).
only assignment of error is that the ALJ gave insufficient
reasons to discount the opinion of state agency reviewing
psychologist John Wolfe, Ph.D., and ...