United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
CHARLES F. EICK UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. section 405(g), IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED that Plaintiff’s and Defendant’s motions
for summary judgment are denied, and this matter is remanded
for further administrative action consistent with this
filed a complaint on November 4, 2015, seeking review of the
Commissioner’s denial of benefits. The parties
consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge
on December 7, 2015. Plaintiff filed a motion for summary
judgment on April 8, 2016. Defendant filed a motion for
summary judgment on July 8, 2016. The Court has taken the
motions under submission without oral argument. See
L.R. 7-15; “Order, ” filed November 5, 2015.
AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
a former cashier, alleges disability beginning February 11,
2007 (Administrative Record (“A.R.”) 43, 50,
122-29, 147). The decision of an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) summarizes and evaluates the evidence,
including the medical opinion evidence (A.R. 9-17). The
decision states that Dr. Robert Moore, a consultative
examining physician, opined that Plaintiff “had the
ability to . . . stand and walk for a total of two hours out
of an 8hour workday” (A.R. 15). The ALJ ultimately
found that Plaintiff retains the ability to perform a
narrowed range of light work, including the ability to
“stand/walk for a total of 6 hours in an 8hour
workday” (A.R. 12). The ALJ did not explain why he
declined to adopt a restriction to two hours of standing and
walking in an 8-hour workday.
vocational expert testified that a person retaining the
capacity the ALJ found to exist could perform
Plaintiff’s past relevant work as generally performed
(A.R. 43-44). The ALJ relied on this testimony in finding
Plaintiff not disabled (A.R. 16). The Appeals Council denied
review (A.R. 1-3).
42 U.S.C. section 405(g), this Court reviews the
Administration’s decision to determine if: (1) the
Administration’s findings are supported by substantial
evidence; and (2) the Administration used correct legal
standards. See Carmickle v. Commissioner, 533 F.3d
1155, 1159 (9th Cir. 2008); Hoopai v. Astrue, 499
F.3d 1071, 1074 (9th Cir. 2007); see also Brewes v.
Commissioner, 682 F.3d 1157, 1161 (9th Cir. 2012).
Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S.
389, 401 (1971) (citation and quotations omitted); see
also Widmark v. Barnhart, 454 F.3d 1063, 1066 (9th Cir.
If the evidence can support either outcome, the court may not
substitute its judgment for that of the ALJ. But the
Commissioner’s decision cannot be affirmed simply by
isolating a specific quantum of supporting evidence. Rather,
a court must consider the record as a whole, weighing both
evidence that supports and evidence that detracts from the
Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir.
1999) (citations and quotations omitted).
Security Ruling (“SSR”) 96-8p provides:
“[i]f the RFC [residual functional capacity] assessment
conflicts with an opinion from a medical source, the
adjudicator must explain why the opinion was not
adopted.” The ALJ’s decision contains no
specific explanation why the ALJ failed to adopt into
“the RFC assessment” the standing/walking opinion
the ALJ imputed to Dr. Moore. The ALJ thereby erred. See
disputing this conclusion, Defendant argues that Dr. Moore
did not unambiguously limit Plaintiff to only two hours of
standing and walking. Dr. Moore’s report does appear
ambiguous on the subject of Plaintiff’s ability to walk
with and without a cane (A.R. 247, 251). However, it was the
prerogative of the ALJ to resolve any possible ambiguities in
the evidence. See Lewis v. Apfel, 236 F.3d 503, 509
(9th Cir. 2001). And the ALJ resolved the possible
ambiguities in Dr. Moore’s report by expressly imputing
to Dr. ...