United States District Court, D. Nevada
MICHAEL A. GARCIA, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
ORDER REGARDING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF
MAGISTRATE JUDGE CARL W. HOFFMAN
MIRANDA M. DU UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) of United States Magistrate Judge
Carl W. Hoffman (ECF No. 20) regarding Plaintiff Michael A.
Garcia's (“Garcia”) Motion to Remand to
Social Security Administration (“Motion to
Remand”) (ECF No. 14) and Defendant Commissioner
Carolyn Colvin's Cross-Motion to Affirm
(“Cross-Motion”) (ECF No. 17). The Court has
reviewed Plaintiff's objection to the R&R (ECF No.
21) and Defendant's response (ECF No. 22). The Court has
also reviewed the administrative record filed by the
Commissioner. (ECF No. 12.)
following reasons, the Court accepts and adopts the R&R
Michael A. Garcia filed for Social Security Disability
Insurance (“SSDI”) benefits under Title II of the
Social Security Act on September 1, 2009. (ECF No. 14 at 3.)
Plaintiff's application was denied on September 21, 2011,
and then denied again upon reconsideration on June 15, 2012.
(Id.) The denial was affirmed by an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”) at a hearing on September 27,
2013, and review was denied by the Appeals Council on
December 9, 2014. (Id.) Garcia then sought review
from this Court.
Magistrate Judge found that the ALJ properly considered
various aspects of Plaintiff's case and provided
specific, clear and convincing reasons as to why
Plaintiff's testimony regarding his disability was not
fully credible. (ECF No. 20 at 8.) Accordingly, the
Magistrate Judge recommends that Plaintiff's Motion to
Remand be denied and that Defendant's Cross-Motion be
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)(C). Where a party
timely objects to a magistrate judge's report and
recommendation, then the court is required to “make a
de novo determination of those portions of the
[report and recommendation] to which objection is
has provided a limited scope of judicial review of the
Commissioner's decision to deny benefits under the Social
Security Act. In reviewing findings of fact, the Court must
determine whether the decision of the Commissioner is
supported by substantial evidence. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
“Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla but
less than a preponderance; it is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Gutierrez v. Comm'r Soc.
Sec., 740 F.3d 519, 522-23 (9th Cir. 2014) (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted). The Court must
consider the entire record as a whole to determine whether
substantial evidence exists, and it must consider evidence
that both supports and undermines the ALJ's decision.
Id. at 523 (citation omitted). In weighing the
evidence and making findings, the Commissioner must also
apply the proper legal standards. Id. (citing
Bray v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec. Admin., 554 F.3d
1219, 1222 (9th Cir. 2009) and Benton v. Barnhart,
331 F.3d 1030, 1035 (9th Cir. 2003)).
Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge's recommendation
to deny Garcia's Motion to Remand and to grant the
Commissioner's Cross-Motion. The ALJ based denial of
Garcia's SSDI benefits on substantial evidence from the
record and gave specific, clear and convincing reasons for
his finding that Garcia was less than credible.
Denial of SSDI Benefits
Magistrate Judge recommends upholding the Commissioner's
decision to deny Garcia's claim for benefits. In
Garcia's objection to the R&R, he contends that the
ALJ failed to articulate specific, clear and convincing
reasons for rejecting Garcia's pain and limitation
testimony. (ECF No. 21 at 4.) He argues that the ALJ did not
base his decision on the record as a whole, instead focusing
on a handful of evidence, and did not identify specific
testimony that he found to be not credible or explain why it
was not credible. (Id.) ...