United States District Court, E.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
CRAIG M. KELLISON, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff, who is proceeding with retained counsel, brings this action for judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Pursuant to the written consent of all parties, this case is before the undersigned as the presiding judge for all purposes, including entry of final judgment. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Pending before the court are plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 16) and defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment (Doc. 20). For the reasons discussed below, the court will deny plaintiff's motion for summary judgment or remand and grant the Commissioner's cross-motion for summary judgment.
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiff applied for social security benefits on May 6, 2009, alleging an onset of disability on May 4, 2009, due to disabilities including disorders of back, and borderline intellectual function (Certified administrative record ("CAR") 57, 104, 116, 121). Plaintiff's claim was denied initially and upon reconsideration. Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, which was held on October 18, 2010, before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Jean R. Kerins. In a March 18, 2011, decision, the ALJ concluded that plaintiff is not disabled based on the following findings:
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 6, 2009, the application date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq. ).
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: hyperextension injury of the cervical spine, with laminoplasty; and a learning disorder (20 CFR 416.920(c)).
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform the unskilled, light work as defined in 20 CFR 414.967(b). The claimant can occasionally climb ladders, balance, and stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl. The claimant is able to understand, remember and carry out simple instructions; make judgments on simple work related decisions; interact appropriately with the public, supervisors and coworkers; and, respond appropriately to usual work situations and to changes in a routine work setting.
5. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).
6. The claimant was born on November 15, 1964 and was 44 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.963).
7. The claimant has a limited education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).
8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue in this case because the claimant's past relevant work is unskilled (20 CFR 416.968).
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 416.969 and 416.969(a)).
10. Based on the testimony of the vocational expert, the undersigned concludes that, considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, the claimant is capable of making a successful adjustment to other work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy. A finding of "not disabled" is therefore appropriate under the framework of the above-cited rule.
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since May 6, 2009, the date the ...