United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
O. RICE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
THE COURT are the parties' cross-motions for summary
judgment (ECF Nos. 12 and 16). Plaintiff is represented by
Dana Madsen. Defendant is represented by Brett Eckelberg.
This matter was submitted for consideration without oral
argument. The Court has reviewed the administrative record
and the parties' completed briefing and is fully
informed. For the reasons discussed below, the Court
DENIES Plaintiff's motion and
GRANTS Defendant's motion.
Court has jurisdiction over this case pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3).
district court's review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security is governed by 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). The scope of review under § 405(g) is
limited: the Commissioner's decision will be disturbed
“only if it is not supported by substantial evidence or
is based on legal error.” Hill v. Astrue, 698
F.3d 1153, 1158-59 (9th Cir. 2012) (citing 42 U.S.C. §
405(g)). “Substantial evidence” means relevant
evidence that “a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.” Id. at 1159
(quotation and citation omitted). Stated differently,
substantial evidence equates to “more than a mere
scintilla[, ] but less than a preponderance.”
Id. (quotation and citation omitted). In determining
whether this standard has been satisfied, a reviewing court
must consider the entire record as a whole rather than
searching for supporting evidence in isolation. Id.
In reviewing a denial of benefits, a district court may not
substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner.
Edlund v. Massanari, 253 F.3d 1152, 1156 (9th Cir.
2001). If the evidence in the record “is susceptible to
more than one rational interpretation, [the court] must
uphold the ALJ's findings if they are supported by
inferences reasonably drawn from the record.”
Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1111 (9th Cir.
2012). Further, a district court “may not reverse an
ALJ's decision on account of an error that is
harmless.” Id. An error is harmless
“where it is inconsequential to the [ALJ's]
ultimate nondisability determination.” Id. at
1115 (quotation and citation omitted). The party appealing
the ALJ's decision generally bears the burden of
establishing that it was harmed. Shinseki v.
Sanders, 556 U.S. 396, 409-10 (2009).
EVALUATION PROCESS FOR CHILDHOOD DISABILITY
qualify for Title XVI supplement security income benefits, a
child under the age of eighteen must have “a medically
determinable physical or mental impairment, which results in
marked and severe functional limitations, and which can be
expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be
expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12
months.” 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(C)(i). The
regulations provide a three-step process to determine whether
a claimant satisfies the above criteria. 20 C.F.R. §
416.924(a). First, the ALJ must determine whether the child
is engaged in substantial gainful activity. 20 C.F.R. §
416.924(b). Second, the ALJ considers whether the child has a
“medically determinable impairment that is severe,
” which is defined as an impairment that causes
“more than minimal functional limitations.” 20
C.F.R. § 416.924(c). Finally, if the ALJ finds a severe
impairment, the ALJ must then consider whether the impairment
“medically equals” or “functionally
equals” a disability listed in the “Listing of
Impairments.” 20 C.F.R. § 416.924(c)-(d).
ALJ finds that the child's impairment or combination of
impairments does not meet or medically equal a listing, the
ALJ must determine whether the impairment or combination of
impairments functionally equals a listing. 20 C.F.R. §
416.926a(a). The ALJ's functional equivalence assessment
requires the ALJ to evaluate the child's functioning in
six “domains.” These six domains, which are
designed “to capture all of what a child can or cannot
do, ” are as follows:
(1) Acquiring and using information:
(2) Attending and completing tasks;
(3) Interacting and relating with others;
(4) Moving about and manipulating objects;
(5) Caring for self; and
(6) Health and physical ...