United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
HONORABLE JACQUELINE CHOOLJIAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
January 29, 2016, Stacy Lynn Rollins
(“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
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; February 3, 2016
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
August 7, 2012, plaintiff filed an application for Disability
Insurance Benefits alleging disability on November 30, 2011,
due to three bulging discs, thyroid problems, and high
cholesterol. (Administrative Record (“AR”) 32,
160, 183). The Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
examined the medical record and heard testimony from
plaintiff (who was represented by counsel) and a vocational
expert on November 26, 2013. (AR 45-75).
March 7, 2014, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not
disabled through the date of the decision. (AR 32-40).
Specifically, the ALJ found: (1) plaintiff suffered from one
severe impairment, disorder of the lumbar spine (AR 34); (2)
plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments which met or medically equaled a listed
impairment (AR 35); (3) plaintiff retained the residual
functional capacity to perform light work (20 C.F.R. §
404.1567(b)) with additional limitations (AR 35); (4)
plaintiff could not perform any past relevant work (AR 38);
(5) there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the
national economy that plaintiff could perform, specifically
cashier II, assembler (small products), and assembler
(electrical accessories) (AR 38-39); and (6)
plaintiff’s allegations regarding the intensity,
persistence, and limiting effects of subjective symptoms were
not entirely credible (AR 37).
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 ...