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Mandell v. Astrue

United States District Court, District of Nevada

March 10, 2015

EVE T. MANDELL, Plaintiff,
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.


Gloria M. Navarro, Chief Judge United States District Court

Pending before the Court is the Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) of United States Magistrate Judge Peggy A. Leen. (ECF No. 25). Plaintiff Eve Mandell filed an Objection, (ECF No. 26), to which Defendant Michael J. Astrue responded, (ECF No. 27). For the reasons discussed below, the Court will accept and adopt Judge Leen’s R&R in full.


Plaintiff brings this action against Defendant Michael Astrue in his capacity as the Commissioner of Social Security, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (Compl., ECF No. 1-1). Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision denying her claim for supplemental security income (“SSI”). (Id.).

Plaintiff filed a claim for SSI benefits on August 7, 2006, which was denied initially and upon reconsideration. (R&R 1:17-19, ECF No. 25). Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), which was held on September 24, 2009. (Id. at 1:20-22). On February 12, 2010, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff’s claim for benefits. (Id. at 1:21-22). Plaintiff timely requested that the Appeals Council review the ALJ’s decision. (Id. at 1:22-23). This request was subsequently granted, and on February 10, 2011, the Appeals Council reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings. (Id. at 1:23-24). The case was considered by a different ALJ on remand, who issued a decision on September 23, 2011, finding that Plaintiff was not disabled and therefore not entitled to benefits. (Id. at 2:1-3). Plaintiff filed a request for the Appeals Council to review this decision, which was denied on November 6, 2012. (Id. at 2:5-6).

This action was referred to the United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and District of Nevada Local Rule IB 1-4. In her R&R, Judge Leen recommended that this Court enter an order granting the Motion to Affirm, (ECF No. 21), and denying the Motion to Remand, (ECF No. 18).


A party may file specific written objections to the findings and recommendations of a United States Magistrate Judge made pursuant to Local Rule IB 1-4. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B); D. Nev. R. IB 3-2. Upon the filing of such objections, the Court must make a de novo determination of those portions of the Report to which objections are made. Id. The Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the Magistrate Judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); D. Nev. IB 3-2(b).


This court may set aside the Social Security Commissioner’s denial of disability benefits only when the findings of the ALJ are based on legal error or are not supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Social Security Act §§ 216(i), 223, (codified at 42 U.S.C. §§ 416(i), 423); Bustamante v. Massanari, 262 F.3d 949, 953 (9th Cir. 2001). “Substantial evidence means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Burch v. Barnhart, 400 F.3d 676, 679 (9th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation omitted). “Where evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, it is the ALJ’s conclusion that must be upheld.” Id.

Here, Judge Leen found that the ALJ’s decision was supported by substantial evidence, and that the ALJ properly assessed Plaintiff’s credibility as well as the appropriate weight to be given to the opinions of Dr. Carolyn McKelvie, Plaintiff’s treating physician. (R&R 26:13-29:9). [1] Having reviewed Plaintiff’s objections de novo, the Court finds no basis on which to reject Judge Leen’s findings and recommendations.


IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Report and Recommendation, (ECF No. 25), be ACCEPTED and ADOPTED in full

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Motion to Affirm, (ECF No. 21), is GRANTED

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Motion to Remand, (ECF No. 18), is DENIED. The Clerk is instructed to enter judgment accordingly and close the case.

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