Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Adams v. Berryhill

United States District Court, C.D. California, Southern Division

March 2, 2017

MICHAEL E. ADAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, [1] Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DOUGLAS F. McCORMICK United States Magistrate Judge

         Michael E. Adams (“Plaintiff”) appeals from the Social Security Commissioner's final decision denying in part his applications for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). The Court concludes that the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) failed to give specific and legitimate reasons for discounting the treating physician's opinion. The Commissioner's decision is therefore reversed and this matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         I.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed applications for DIB and SSI on April 13 and 14, 2011, respectively. Administrative Record (“AR”) 141-42, 400-03. Both applications alleged disability beginning March 6, 2009. AR 1532. After his applications were denied, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an ALJ. AR 179-80. An ALJ held a hearing on August 29, 2012, AR 68-102, after which the ALJ issued a decision denying the claims, AR 143-58. Plaintiff sought review from the Appeals Council, which vacated the ALJ's decision and remanded the case back to the ALJ for further proceedings. AR 159-63.

         The ALJ held a second hearing on May 22, 2014, at which Plaintiff was represented by counsel. AR 18-67. The ALJ heard testimony from Arnold Ostrow, M.D., an impartial medical expert, as well as a vocational expert (“VE”). Id.

         The ALJ issued a partially favorable decision on September 9, 2014. AR 1527-42. The ALJ determined that Plaintiff had the severe impairments of polyneuropathy, migraine, essential hypertension, left rotator cuff syndrome, cervical discogenic disease, thoracic and lumbosacral degenerative disease, and atrial arrhythmia. AR 1535. The ALJ found that notwithstanding those impairments, Plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work with the following additional limitations:

can lift and/or carry 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds occasionally; stand and/or walk 2 hours out of an 8-hour day and sit 6 hours out of an 8-hour day with the ability to stand and stretch every hour estimated to take 1 to 3 minutes per hour; no overhead work with left upper extremity; occasional foot pedals with the lower extremities bilaterally; can occasionally climb stairs; no ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; can occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl; no work at unprotected heights; no work around moving or dangerous machinery; frequent fine and gross manipulation bilaterally; and low stress job, defined as having only occasional decision making duties and changes in the work setting.

AR 1535. Based on the VE's testimony, the ALJ found that Plaintiff could not perform his past relevant work as a building maintenance repairer because the demands of that job exceed his RFC. AR 1540.

         Plaintiff turned 55 years old on February 27, 2014. See AR 140-41, 400. The ALJ concluded that, based on the VE's testimony, Plaintiff was not disabled before his 55th birthday because even considering his reduced ability to stand and walk, he could perform an eroded number of cashier II and electrical accessories assembler jobs. AR 1541-42. The ALJ therefore found that before February 27, 2014, Plaintiff was capable of making a successful adjustment to other work that existed in the national economy. AR 1541.[2]

         Because Plaintiff was of advanced age as of February 27, 2014, the ALJ applied Medical Vocational Rule 202.06 to determine that Plaintiff was disabled as of February 27, 2014. AR 1543.

         Plaintiff requested review of the unfavorable portion of the ALJ's decision. AR 9-11. On February 3, 2016, the Appeals Council denied review. AR 1-6. This action followed.

         II.

...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.