United States District Court, E.D. California
DALE A. DROZD, Magistrate Judge.
This social security action was submitted to the court without oral argument for ruling on plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment. For the reasons explained below, plaintiff's motion is granted, defendant's cross-motion is denied, the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") is reversed, and the matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this order.
On March 30, 2011, plaintiff filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging disability beginning on November 24, 2010. (Transcript ("Tr.") at 14, 189-96.) Plaintiff's application was denied initially, (id. at 84-88), and upon reconsideration. (Id. at 93-97.) Plaintiff requested a hearing and a hearing was held before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") on November 27, 2012. (Id. at 26-65.) Plaintiff was represented by an attorney and testified at the administrative hearing. (Id. at 27.) In a decision issued on December 5, 2012, the ALJ found that plaintiff was not disabled. (Id. at 20.) The ALJ entered the following findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2015.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since November 24, 2010, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq. ).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: Disorder of back, carpal tunnel syndrome, and osteoarthritis (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525, and 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c). The claimant can sit, stand, and walk six hours during an eight-hour workday. He can lift or carry 50 pounds occasionally and 25 pounds frequently. He can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He should avoid concentrated exposure to excessive noises and vibrations. He should never work around hazards such as moving dangerous machinery and unprotected heights.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on November 14, 1949 and was 61 years old, which is defined as an individual closely approaching retirement age, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564).
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is "not disabled, " whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
10. 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 404.1569 and 404.1569(a)).
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from November 24, 2010, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g)).
(Id. at 14-20.)
On April 8, 2013, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's December 5, 2012 decision. (Id. at 1-3.) Plaintiff sought judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) by filing the complaint in this action on May 30, 2013.
"The district court reviews the Commissioner's final decision for substantial evidence, and the Commissioner's decision will be disturbed only if it is not supported by substantial evidence or is based on legal error." Hill v. Astrue , 698 F.3d 1153, 1158-59 (9th Cir. 2012). Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Osenbrock ...