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Marsh v. Colvin

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

June 18, 2015

Naomi Fawn Marsh, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration Defendant-Appellee.

Submitted June 8, 2015 [*] San Francisco, California

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California Charles R. Breyer, Senior District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 3:11-cv-02096-CRB

James Hunt Miller, Oakland, California, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Melinda L. Haag, United States Attorney, Grace M. Kim, Regional Chief Counsel, Region IX, and Shea Lita Bond, Special Assistant United States Attorney, Social Security Administration, San Francisco, California, for Defendant-Appellee Carolyn W. Colvin.

Before: Barry G. Silverman, Ronald M. Gould, and Andrew D. Hurwitz, Circuit Judges.

SUMMARY [**]

Social Security

The panel vacated the district court's order affirming the Social Security Commissioner's denial of a claimant's application for social security disability benefits.

The panel held that the administrative law judge erred in not mentioning a treating doctor's opinion and his notes in the ALJ's written decision. The panel also held that it could not confidently conclude that the error was harmless. The panel remanded with instructions to the district court to remand to the ALJ, and specifically to invite the ALJ to comment on the treating doctor's medical opinions and records. The panel retained jurisdiction over any future appeal in the matter.

OPINION

GOULD, Circuit Judge

Naomi Marsh appeals the district court's order affirming the Social Security Commissioner's denial of her application for social security disability benefits. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we vacate and remand with instructions.

I

Marsh applied for disability benefits on November 21, 2006, claiming that she became disabled on October 2, 2001 from a work-related injury to her back, leg, and hip, and from complications arising from a car wreck. After the agency denied her application initially and on reconsideration, Marsh requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"); the ALJ also denied benefits. The record on which the ALJ denied Marsh's application contains, among other evidence, medical opinions from several doctors, including clinical progress (SOAP) notes from Dr. David H. Betat, M.D. Dr. Betat's SOAP notes track Marsh's clinical progress, beginning in September 2003 and ending in November 2006. Dr. Betat's SOAP note from January 31, 2006 states, in part:

The patient has chronic trochanteric bursitis to the point that she is pretty much nonfunctional. She also finds herself not being able to concentrate enough to do office work such as bookkeeping. The patient appears to be disabled, unfortunately, at a fairly young age. It seems ...

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