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Joseph Grimes v. Michael J. Astrue

January 18, 2011

JOSEPH GRIMES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Mcdermott United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER REVERSING DECISION OF COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY AND REMANDING FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS

PROCEEDINGS

On December 7, 2009, Joseph Grimes ("Plaintiff" or "Claimant") filed a complaint seeking review of the decision by the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying Plaintiff's application for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits. The Commissioner filed an Answer on June 8, 2010. On August 12, 2010, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("JS").

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), both parties consented to proceed before the Magistrate Judge. The matter is now ready for decision. After reviewing the pleadings, transcripts, and administrative record ("AR"), the Court concludes that the Commissioner's decision should be reversed and remanded for further proceedings in accordance with law and with this Memorandum and Order.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a 30 year old male who was determined to have the medically determinable severe impairment of psychotic disorder, depressive disorder, personality disorder, and substance abuse disorder in questionable remission. (AR 12.) Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since December 9, 2006, the application date. (AR 12.)

Plaintiff's claim was denied initially and on reconsideration on March 27, 2008. (AR 10.) Plaintiff filed a timely request for hearing, which was held on June 4, 2009, in San Bernardino, California, before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Joseph D. Schloss (AR 10.) Plaintiff appeared and testified and was represented by counsel. (AR 10.) Also appearing and testifying were Miriam Sherman, a medical expert, and Sandra Fioretti, a vocational expert ("VE"). (AR 10.)

On September 11, 2009, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. (AR 10-17.) The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on October 30, 2009. (AR 3-5.)

DISPUTED ISSUES

As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, the disputed issues that Plaintiff raises as grounds for reversal are as follows:

1. Whether the ALJ properly found Plaintiff capable of performing past work as a resetter/sales attendant.

2. Whether the ALJ properly considered the treating clinician's Clinical Assessment findings.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court reviews the ALJ's decision to determine whether the ALJ's findings are supported by substantial evidence and free of legal error. Smolen v. Chater, 80 F.3d 1273, 1279 (9th Cir. 1996); see also DeLorme v. Sullivan, 924 F.2d 841, 846 (9th Cir. 1991) (ALJ's disability determination ...


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