The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Mcdermott United States Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER REVERSING DECISION OF COMMISSIONER AND REMANDING FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS PROCEEDINGS
On November 18, 2011, Regina O. Gardner ("Plaintiff or Claimant") filed a complaint seeking review of the decision by the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying Plaintiff's application for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The Commissioner filed an Answer on March 8, 2012. On August 27, 2012, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("JS"). The matter is now ready for decision.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), both parties consented to proceed before this Magistrate Judge. After reviewing the pleadings, transcripts, and administrative record ("AR"), the Court concludes that the Commissioner's decision must be reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings in accordance with this Memorandum and Order and with law.
Plaintiff is a 43 year old female who applied for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits on August 18, 2008, alleging disability beginning October 12, 2007. (AR 10.) Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 12, 2007, the alleged onset date. (AR 12.)
Plaintiff's claim was denied initially on January 16, 2009, and on reconsideration on May 14, 2009. (AR 10.) Plaintiff filed a timely request for hearing, which was held before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Gail Reich on December 13, 2010, in West Los Angeles, California. (AR 10.) Claimant appeared and testified at the hearing, and was represented by counsel. (AR 10.) Medical expert ("ME") Minh D. Vu, M.D., and vocational expert ("VE") Gregory S. Jones also appeared and testified at the hearing. (AR 10.) The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on January 6, 2011. (AR 10-25.) The Appeals Council denied review on September 21, 2011. (AR 1-6.)
As reflected in the Joint Stipulation, Plaintiff raises the following disputed issues as the basis for reversal and remand:
1. Whether the ALJ erred in taking the testimony of the medical expert.
2. Whether the ALJ erred in rejecting Plaintiff's subjective symptom testimony. 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 must be supported by substantial evidence and based on the proper legal standards).
Substantial evidence means "'more than a mere scintilla,' but less than a preponderance." Saelee v. Chater, 94 F.3d 520, 521-22 (9th Cir. 1996) (quoting Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)). Substantial evidence is "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson, 402 U.S. at 401 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
This Court must review the record as a whole and consider adverse as well as supporting evidence. Robbins v. Soc. Sec. Admin., 466 F.3d 880, 882 (9th Cir. 2006). Where evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the ALJ's decision must be upheld. Morgan v. Comm'r of the Soc. Sec. Admin., 169 F.3d 595, 599 (9th Cir. 1999). "However, a reviewing court must consider the entire record as a whole and may not affirm simply by isolating a 'specific quantum of supporting evidence.'" Robbins, 466 ...