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Estrada v. Colvin

United States District Court, C.D. California, Eastern Division

January 28, 2015

VERONICA ESTRADA, on behalf of M.A.A., a minor, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant

For Veronica Estrada, on behalf of M. A. A., a minor, Plaintiff: William M Kuntz, LEAD ATTORNEY, William M Kuntz PLC, Riverside, CA.

For Carolyn W Colvin, Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant: Assistant U.S. Attorney LA-CV, LEAD ATTORNEY, AUSA - Office of U.S. Attorney, 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, SAUSA - Office of the U.S. Attorney, San Francisco, CA.

DECISION AND ORDER

CARLA M. WOEHRLE, United States Magistrate Judge.

PROCEEDINGS

On October 21, 2013, Veronica Estrada filed a Complaint seeking review of the Commissioner's denial of an application for supplemental security income she had filed on behalf of her minor-aged daughter, M.A.A. (" Plaintiff"). Thereafter, the parties filed a Consent to Proceed Before United States Magistrate Judge Carla Woehrle. On April 28, 2014, Defendant filed an Answer to the Complaint. On July 24, 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.

BACKGROUND

On June 18, 2010, Ms. Estrada filed an application for supplemental security income on behalf of Plaintiff. (Administrative Record [" AR" ] at 12, 142-49.) The application alleged that, beginning on June 1, 2010, Plaintiff was disabled because of bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (" ADHD"). (AR at 84.)

The Commissioner denied the application initially and on reconsideration. (AR at 82-83.) Ms. Estrada requested an administrative hearing, which was held by an Administrative Law Judge (" ALJ") on February 16, 2012. (AR at 48.) Plaintiff and Ms. Estrada appeared at the hearing with counsel, and they both gave testimony. (AR at 49.)

The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on May 18, 2012. (AR at 12-23.) The ALJ found that Plaintiff's bipolar disorder, ADHD, and borderline intellectual functioning were " severe" impairments, but that she did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met, medically equaled, or functionally equaled the requirements of a listed impairment. (AR at 15.) In particular, the ALJ found that Plaintiff did not functionally equal the requirements of a listed impairment because Plaintiff either had no limitation or less than a marked limitation in six domains of functioning. [1] (AR at 18-23.) The ALJ therefore concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled as defined by the Social Security Act. (AR at 23.)

Ms. Estrada requested review of the ALJ's decision by the Appeals Council. (AR at 7-8.) On July 17, 2013, the Appeals Council denied the request for review. (AR at 1-3.)

DISPUTED ISSUES

The parties' Joint Stipulation sets out the following disputed issues:

1. Whether the ALJ properly evaluated Plaintiff's conditions under Listing 112.05(D) ...

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