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Rosalinda Alshoubaki v. Carolyn W. Colvin

May 2, 2013

ROSALINDA ALSHOUBAKI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alicia G. Rosenberg United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Rosalinda Alshoubaki filed this action on March 13, 2012. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before the magistrate judge on March 22 and 28, 2012. (Dkt. Nos. 7, 11.) On November 19, 2012, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation ("JS") that addressed the disputed issues. The court has taken the matter under submission without oral argument.

Having reviewed the entire file, the court reverses the decision of the Commissioner and remands this matter for consideration of Dr. Sisson's opinions.

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On March 23, 2009, Alshoubaki filed an application for supplemental security income alleging an onset date of February 22, 2008.*fn1 AR 10, 141-47. The application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. AR 10, 67-68. Alshoubaki requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). On August 25, 2010, the ALJ conducted a hearing at which Alshoubaki and a vocational expert ("VE") testified. AR 23-63. On November 5, 2010, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. AR 10-18. On January 19, 2012, the Appeals Council denied the request for review. AR 1-3. This action followed.

II.STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this court reviews the Commissioner's decision to deny benefits. The decision will be disturbed only if it is not supported by substantial evidence, or if it is based upon the application of improper legal standards. Moncada v. Chater, 60 F.3d 521, 523 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam); Drouin v. Sullivan, 966 F.2d 1255, 1257 (9th Cir. 1992).

"Substantial evidence" means "more than a mere scintilla but less than a preponderance -- it is such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the conclusion." Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523. In determining whether substantial evidence exists to support the Commissioner's decision, the court examines the administrative record as a whole, considering adverse as well as supporting evidence. Drouin, 966 F.2d at 1257. When the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the court must defer to the Commissioner's decision. Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Disability

A person qualifies as disabled, and thereby eligible for such benefits, "only if his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy." Barnhart v. Thomas, 540 U.S. 20, 21-22, 124 S. Ct. 376, 157 L. Ed. 2d 333 (2003).

B. The ALJ's Findings

The ALJ found that Alshoubaki has the severe impairments of diabetes mellitus, carpal tunnel syndrome, obesity, diabetic neuropathy, and depression. AR 12. She has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform a range of light work. AR 13. She can lift 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds occasionally. She can sit, stand and walk 6 hours in an 8 hour workday, but must be able to alternate positions at 30 minute intervals for 1-3 minutes at a time. She can occasionally climb stairs/ramps; never climb ropes, ladders or scaffolds; occasionally kneel, crouch, stoop, and bend at the waist; occasionally use her upper extremities for reaching overhead; and frequently perform gross manipulations bilaterally. She must avoid exposure to hazards, such as unprotected heights and dangerous moving machinery, and concentrated exposure to pulmonary irritants, such as dust, fumes, and odors. She can have frequent contact with co-workers and the general public, make simple work related decisions, and deal with routine changes in the work setting. She is limited to simple ...


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