United States District Court, C.D. California
For Rosie Thompson, Plaintiff: Vijay Jagdish Patel, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Offices of Lawrence D Rohlfing, Santa Fe Springs, CA.
For Carolyn W Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant: Assistant U.S. Attorney LA-CV, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of U.S. Attorney, Civil Division, Los Angeles, CA; Assistant U.S. Attorney LA-SSA, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of the General Counsel for Social Security Adm., San Francisco, CA; Marla K Letellier, LEAD ATTORNEY, Social Security Administration, Office of the General Counsel - Social Security Adm, San Francisco, CA.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
Honorable Jacqueline Chooljian, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
On May 28, 2014, plaintiff Rosie Thompson (" 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 the undersigned 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 Court has taken both motions under submission without oral argument. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; L.R. 7-15; June 2, 2014 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 1, 2011, plaintiff filed applications for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits. (Administrative Record (" AR") 197, 200). Plaintiff asserted that she became disabled on December 15, 2009, due to back, hip, knee and vision problems, and arthritis in both hands. (AR 234). The Administrative Law Judge (" ALJ") examined the medical record and heard testimony from plaintiff (who was represented by counsel), a medical expert, and a vocational expert on May 22, 2013. (AR 66-89).
On May 31, 2013, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled through the date of the decision. (AR 13-23). Specifically, the ALJ found: (1) plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments: hypertension, high cholesterol, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), tobacco use disorder, obesity, status post left ankle fracture in 2003, status post surgical fixation, and osteoarthritis in bilateral hands, bilateral knees, and right elbow (AR 15); (2) plaintiff's impairments, considered singly or in combination, did not meet or medically equal a listed impairment (AR 16); (3) plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work (20 C.F.R. § § 404.1567(a), 416.967(a)) with additional limitations (AR 16); (4) plaintiff could perform past relevant work as Cashier I (AR 22); and (5) plaintiff's allegations regarding her limitations were not entirely credible (AR 18).
The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's application for review. (AR 1).
III. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS
A. Sequential Evaluation Process