United States District Court, D. Arizona
Nick P. Maydanis, Plaintiff,
Carolyn W. Colvin, Defendant
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
For Nick P Maydanis, Plaintiff: Mark Ross Caldwell, LEAD ATTORNEY, Mark Caldwell PC, Phoenix, AZ.
For Carolyn W Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant: Michael A Johns, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Attorney's Office, Phoenix, AZ; Sarah Leigh Martin, LEAD ATTORNEY, Social Security Administration, Seattle, WA.
David G. Campbell, United States District Judge.
Plaintiff Nick Maydanis seeks review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security, which denied him disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income under sections 216(i), 223(d), and 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act. Plaintiff argues that the Administrative Law Judge (" ALJ" ) improperly rejected a medical opinion and that the ALJ would be required to find Plaintiff disabled if this medical opinion were credited as true. The Court agrees and therefore vacates the Commissioner's decision and remands the matter for an award of benefits.
Plaintiff was born on February 25, 1969. He has a bachelor's degree and has worked as a videographer, a substitute teacher, and a sales associate for a furniture store. These jobs did not last for more than a few months. Plaintiff struggles with a number of psychological problems, including a personality disorder and an intermittent explosive disorder. He is apt to become angry, bang his fists on nearby objects, and ignore instructions. He has been incarcerated for stalking and harassing women.
In December 2010, Plaintiff applied for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income, alleging disability beginning February 1, 2009. On April 4, 2013, he appeared with his attorney and testified at a hearing before the ALJ. A vocational expert also testified. On May 31, 2013, the ALJ issued a decision that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the hearing decision, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision.
II. Legal Standard.
The district court reviews only those issues raised by the party challenging the ALJ's decision. See Lewis v. Apfel, 236 F.3d 503, 517 n.13 (9th Cir. 2001). The court may set aside the Commissioner's disability determination only if the determination is not supported by substantial evidence or is based on legal error. Orn v. Astrue, 495 F.3d 625, 630 (9th Cir. 2007). Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla but less than a preponderance. Id. It is relevant evidence that a reasonable person might accept as adequate to support a conclusion considering the record as a whole. Id. In determining whether substantial evidence supports a decision, ...