United States District Court, C.D. California, Eastern Division
For Mario Alfredo Campos, Plaintiff: Bill LaTour, LEAD ATTORNEY, Bill LaTour Law Offices, Colton, CA.
For Carolyn W Colvin, Acting Commissoner 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; Cynthia B De Nardi, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of the U.S. Attorney, Office of the General Counsel, Region IX, San Francisco, CA.
DECISION AND ORDER
CARLA M. WOEHRLE, United States Magistrate Judge.
On August 8, 2013, Mario Alfredo Campos (" Plaintiff") filed a Complaint seeking review of the Commissioner's denial of his applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. Thereafter, the parties filed a Consent to Proceed Before United States Magistrate Judge Carla Woehrle. On March 20, 2014, Defendant filed an Answer to the Complaint. On July 30, 2014, the parties filed their Joint Stipulation (" Joint Stip.").
As discussed below, the Court finds that the Commissioner's decision should be reversed and this matter remanded for further proceedings.
On December 22, 2009, Plaintiff protectively filed applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. (Administrative Record [" AR" ] at 9.) Plaintiff alleged that, beginning on February 19, 2008, he was disabled because of a lower back injury. (AR at 40.)
The Commissioner denied Plaintiff's applications initially and on reconsideration. (AR at 9, 40-44.) Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, which was held by an Administrative Law Judge (" ALJ") on April 3, 2012. (AR at 9, 526.) Plaintiff appeared at the hearing with counsel, and the ALJ heard testimony from Plaintiff and a vocational expert. (AR at 527-53.)
The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on April 17, 2012. (AR at 9-20.) In the decision, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the following " severe" impairments: degenerative disc disease, left shoulder impingement/superior labral anterior-posterior lesion; myofascial pain, and status post left carpal tunnel release. (AR at 11.) The ALJ also found that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or equaled the requirements of a listed impairment. (AR at 24-25.) The ALJ also found that Plaintiff had a residual functional capacity for " light work, " which precluded Plaintiff from returning to his past relevant work as a stocker and forklift operator. (AR at 14, 18-19.) Finally, the ALJ found that Plaintiff could perform other work in the national economy, specifically the occupations of assembler of small parts and production assembler. (AR at 19-20.) The ALJ therefore concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled as defined by the Social Security Act. (AR at 20.)
Plaintiff requested review of the ALJ's decision by the Appeals Council. (AR at 5.) On June 13, 2013, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (AR at 1-4.)
The parties' Joint Stipulation sets out the following disputed issues:
1. Whether the ALJ's step five determination was based on a conflict between the vocational expert's testimony and the ...