United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
HONORABLE JACQUELINE CHOOLJIAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
10, 2015, Frizel Williams, Jr. (“plaintiff”)
filed a Complaint seeking review of the Commissioner of
Social Security’s denial of plaintiff’s
application for benefits. The parties have consented to
proceed before the undersigned United States Magistrate
matter is before the Court on the parties’ cross
motions for summary judgment, respectively
(“Plaintiff’s Motion”) and
(“Defendant’s Motion”). The Court has taken
both motions under submission without oral argument.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; L.R. 7-15; July 14, 2015 Case
Management Order ¶ 5.
on the record as a whole and the applicable law, the decision
of the Commissioner is REVERSED AND REMANDED for further
proceedings consistent with this Memorandum Opinion and Order
BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
April 18, 2012, plaintiff filed an application for
Supplemental Security Income alleging disability on August
14, 2004, due to back pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, and leg
and knee problems. (Administrative Record (“AR”)
25, 172, 192). The Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) examined the medical record and heard
testimony from plaintiff (who was represented by counsel) and
a vocational expert on December 3, 2013. (AR 37-60).
January 23, 2014, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not
disabled through the date of the decision. (AR 25-32).
Specifically, the ALJ found: (1) plaintiff suffered from the
following severe impairments: low back pain without
radiculopathy and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(COPD) (AR 27); (2) plaintiff’s impairments, considered
singly or in combination, did not meet or medically equal a
listed impairment (AR 27); (3) plaintiff retained the
residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work (20
C.F.R. § 416.967(a)) with additional
limitations (AR 28); (4) plaintiff could not perform
any past relevant work (AR 30); (5) there are jobs that exist
in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff
could perform, specifically sorter, inspector, and assembler
(AR 31); and (6) plaintiff’s allegations regarding the
intensity, persistence, and limiting effects of subjective
symptoms were not entirely credible (AR 28).
Appeals Council denied plaintiff’s application for
review. (AR 1).
APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS
Sequential Evaluation Process
qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must show that
the claimant is unable “to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result
in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a
continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104, 1110 (9th Cir.
2012) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A)) (internal
quotation marks omitted). The impairment must render the
claimant incapable of performing the work the claimant
previously performed and incapable of performing any other
substantial gainful employment that exists in the national
economy. Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th
Cir. 1999) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A)).
assessing whether a claimant is disabled, an ALJ is required
to use the following five-step sequential evaluation process:
(1) Is the claimant presently engaged in substantial gainful
activity? If so, the claimant is not disabled. If ...