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Reddick v. Colvin

United States District Court, S.D. California

July 15, 2016

THOMAS M. REDDICK, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, DENYING DEFENDANT’S CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, VACATING ALJ’S DECISION, AND REMANDING CASE

          BARRY TED MOSKOWITZ, CHIEF JUDGE.

         In this action, Plaintiff Thomas M. Reddick seeks review of the Commissioner of Social Security’s denial of his application for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits. Plaintiff and Defendant have filed cross-motions for summary judgment. For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, DENIES Defendant’s motion for summary judgment, VACATES the Commissioner’s decision, and REMANDS for further proceedings.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On February 17, 2011, Plaintiff filed a Title II application for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits, alleging disability beginning July 20, 2010. Plaintiff’s claim was denied initially on June 30, 2011, and upon reconsideration on January 20, 2012.

         On May 3, 2013, Plaintiff’s claim was heard by Administrative Law Judge Robert Iafe (the “ALJ”). On December 27, 2013, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. Plaintiff filed a request for review with the Appeals Council, which was denied on June 8, 2015. The ALJ’s decision then became the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security. Plaintiff seeks judicial review of the Commissioner’s decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         II. ALJ’S FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

         The ALJ conducted the five-step sequential analysis set forth in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520.[1]

         At the outset, the ALJ found that Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2016. (AR 26.)

         The ALJ then found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 20, 2010, the alleged onset date.

         Next, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease, status post decompression and fusion; spondylosis (arthritis); spondylolisthesis at L5-S1 (described as grade 1) with bilateral foraminal narrowing and impingement; and obesity (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(c)).

         The ALJ determined that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.

         At step five, the ALJ found that Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity to: lift and carry 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds occasionally; stand and walk up to 4 hours out of an 8-hour day for no more than 30 minutes at a time; sit up to 6 hours out of an 8-hour day; occasionally climb stairs and ramps but never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; occasionally kneel, crouch, stoop, and bend but not on a repetitive basis; avoid crawling, hazards, dangerous machinery, unprotected heights, vibrations, extreme cold, and repetitive trunk twisting.

         Based on the testimony of the vocational expert, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is able to perform past relevant work as a financial advisor (DOT No. 250.257-014, SVP-8), consultant (DOT No. 189.167-010, SVP-8), marketing (DOT NO. 050.067-014, SVP-7), financial manager (DOT No. 186.167-086, SVP-8), and vocational instructor (DOT No. 097.221-010, SVP-7).

         Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff has not been disabled, within the meaning of the Social Security Act, from July ...


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