United States District Court, C.D. California, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
SAGAR UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
to Sentence 4 of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED that this matter is remanded for further
administrative action consistent with this Opinion.
January 17, 2012, Plaintiff Josefina Avila Pacheco
(“Plaintiff”) applied for disability insurance
benefits alleging a disabling condition beginning August 25,
2010. (AR 192). On December 3, 2013, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Mark B. Greenberg examined records and
heard testimony from Plaintiff and vocational expert
(“V.E.”) Carlen Stock. (AR 35-71). On August 7,
2014, the ALJ denied Plaintiff benefits in a written
decision. (AR 15-28). The Appeals Council denied review of
the ALJ's decision. (AR 1-3).
December 9, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g) alleging that the Social Security
Administration erred in denying benefits. (Docket Entry No.
1). On April 12, 2016, Defendant filed an Answer to the
Complaint, (Docket Entry No. 13), and the Certified
Administrative Record (“AR”), (Docket Entry No.
14). The parties have consented to proceed before a United
States Magistrate Judge. (Docket Entry Nos. 8, 9). On July
28, 2016, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation (“Joint
Stip.”) setting forth their respective positions on
Plaintiff's claims. (Docket Entry No. 17).
OF ALJ'S DECISION
applied the five-step process in evaluating Plaintiff's
case. (AR 16-17). At step one, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
after the alleged onset date. (AR 17). At step two, the ALJ
found that Plaintiff's severe impairments included
obesity, degenerative disc disease, degenerative joint
disease, repetitive use injuries of the right upper
extremity, chronic pain, impingement syndrome, cubital tunnel
syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, and depression. (AR 17). At
step three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's impairments
did not meet or equal a listing found in 20 C.F.R. Part 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 1. (AR 17-18).
proceeding to step four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform
light work with the following further limitations:
“with respect to [Plaintiff's] sitting for six
hours out of an eight-hour workday she would require hourly
breaks of five minutes to change position, and during that
five minutes she could either stand at the workstation or
walk around the workstation close enough to remain on task.
She can frequently push and pull with the dominant right
upper extremity. She can occasionally climb ramps and stairs,
stoop, crouch and crawl. She can frequently balance and
kneel. She is precluded from climbing ladders, ropes, and
scaffolds. She is precluded from exposure to hazards. She is
precluded from overhead reaching with the right upper
extremity but can otherwise perform frequent reaching,
handling, fingering and feeling with the right upper
extremity. She is limited to nonpublic work that is unskilled
and involves simple and repetitive tasks.” (AR 19). In
making his RFC finding, the ALJ stated that Plaintiff's
subjective complaints were “less than fully
credible” and inconsistent with objective medical
evidence. (AR 21, 24, 26).
steps four and five, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff was
unable to perform past relevant work but that she could seek
work as a packager, inspector, or assembler, which were all
jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy.
(See AR 27-28). Accordingly, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social
Security Act. (AR 28).
court reviews the Administration's decision to determine
if the decision is free of legal error and supported by
substantial evidence. See Brewes v. Commissioner of Soc.
Sec. Admin., 682 F.3d 1157, 1161 (9th Cir. 2012).
“Substantial evidence” is more than a mere
scintilla, but less than a preponderance. Garrison v.
Colvin, 759 F.3d 995, 1009 (9th Cir. 2014). To determine
whether substantial evidence supports a finding, “a
court must consider the record as a whole, weighing both
evidence that supports and evidence that detracts from the
[Commissioner's] conclusion.” Aukland v.
Massanari, 257 F.3d 1033, 1035 (9th Cir. 2001) (internal
quotation omitted). As a result, “[i]f the evidence can
support either affirming or reversing the ALJ's
conclusion, [a court] may not substitute [its] judgment for
that of the ALJ.” Robbins v. Soc. Sec. Admin.,
466 F.3d 880, 882 (9th Cir. 2006).
raises two grounds for relief. First, Plaintiff claims that
the ALJ improperly assessed the credibility of her subjective
complaints. (Joint Stip. at 3-7). Second, Plaintiff claims
that the ALJ erred at step five by selecting alternative
occupations that Plaintiff is not able to perform and relying
on an inaccurate calculation of the numbers ...