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Ricky Renteria v. Michael J. Astrue

December 15, 2010

RICKY RENTERIA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Jacqueline Chooljian United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND

I. SUMMARY

On May 24, 2010, plaintiff Ricky Renteria ("plaintiff") filed a Complaint seeking review of the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of plaintiff's application for benefits. The parties have consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the parties' cross motions for summary judgment, respectively ("Plaintiff's Motion") and ("Defendant's Motion"). The Court has taken both motions under submission without oral argument. See Fed.

R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15; June 7, 2010 Case Management Order ¶ 5.

Based on the record as a whole and the applicable law, the decision of the Commissioner is REVERSED AND REMANDED for further proceedings consistent with this Memorandum and Opinion and Order of Remand because the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") did not properly assess the credibility of plaintiff's subjective complaints.

II. BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION On November 21, 2006, plaintiff filed an application for supplemental

security income benefits. (Administrative Record ("AR") 138-40). Plaintiff asserted that he became disabled on September 10, 2006, due to a lower back injury, numbness in the right leg, and shortness of breath. (AR 138, 148). The ALJ examined the medical record and heard testimony from plaintiff, who was represented by counsel, on September 23, 2008. (AR 80-107).

On October 28, 2008, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled through the date of the decision. (AR 55-62). Specifically, the ALJ found:

(1) plaintiff suffered from the severe impairments of morbid obesity, sleep apnea, and degenerative disc disease (AR 57); (2) plaintiff's impairments, considered singly or in combination, did not meet or medically equal one of the listed impairments (AR 57); (3) plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity to perform a limited range of light work (AR 58); (4) plaintiff could not perform his *fn1 past relevant work (AR 60); (5) there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff could perform (AR 61); and (6) plaintiff's allegations regarding his limitations were not entirely credible (AR 59).

The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's application for review. (AR 1-3).

III. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Sequential Evaluation Process

To qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must show that he is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least twelve months. Burch v. Barnhart, 400 F.3d 676, 679 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing 42 U.S.C. ยง 423(d)(1)(A)). The impairment must render the claimant incapable of performing the work he previously performed and incapable of performing any other substantial gainful employment that exists in the national economy. Tackett v. ...


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