The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Jacqueline Chooljian United States Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR LEAVE TO FILE REPLY [DOCKET NOS. 13, 18, 19]
On September 13, 2012, plaintiff Angel R. Trevino ("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 *fn2
Court has taken both motions under submission without oral argument. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15; September 17, 2012 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 Opinion and Order of Remand.
II. BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
On September 4, 2009, plaintiff filed applications for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits. (Administrative Record ("AR") 10, *fn3 123, 130). Plaintiff asserted that he became disabled on December 31, 1995 (later amended to September 4, 2009) due to depression, anxiety attacks, attention deficit disorder (ADD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). (AR 158). The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") examined the medical record and heard testimony from plaintiff (who was represented by counsel), plaintiff's fiancee, Linda Morgan, and a vocational expert on July 11, 2011. (AR 38-57). On July 29, 2011, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled through the date of the decision. (AR 10-18). Specifically, the ALJ found: (1) plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments: bipolar disorder (not otherwise specified) and polysubstance dependence in partial remission (AR 12); (2) plaintiff's impairments, considered singly or in combination, did not meet or medically equal a listed impairment (AR 13); (3) plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but was limited to simple repetitive tasks requiring only occasional interaction with the general public, co-workers, and supervisors, although plaintiff could work side-by-side (AR 14); (4) plaintiff had no past relevant work (AR 16); (5) there are jobsthat exist in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff could perform, specifically auto detailer and farm worker (AR 17); and (6) plaintiff's allegations regarding his limitations were not credible to the extent they were inconsistent with the ALJ's residual functional capacity assessment (AR 15).
The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's application for review. (AR 1).
III. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS
A. Sequential Evaluation Process
To qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must show that the claimant is unable "to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any 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 not less than 12 months." Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1110 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A)) (internal quotation marks omitted). The impairment must render the claimant incapable of performing the work claimant previously performed and incapable of performing any other substantial gainful employment that exists in the national economy. Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir. 1999) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A)).
In assessing whether a claimant is disabled, an ALJ is to follow a five-step sequential evaluation process:
(1) Is the claimant presently engaged in substantial gainful activity? If so, the claimant is not disabled. If not, proceed to step two.
(2) Is the claimant's alleged impairment sufficiently severe to limit the claimant's ability to work? If not, the claimant is not disabled. If so, proceed to step three.
(3) Does the claimant's impairment, or combination of impairments, meet or equal an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1? If so, the ...