United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
HONORABLE JACQUELINE CHOOLJIAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
1, 2016, Rosa Morena Gonzalez ("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 Judge.
matter is before the Court on the parties' cross motions
for summary judgment, respectively ("Plaintiffs
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 6,
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
December 19, 2012, plaintiff filed an application for
Disability Insurance Benefits alleging disability beginning
on August 13, 2011, due to back, breathing, hernia, and heart
problems. (Administrative Record ("AR") 16, 200).
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
3, 2014. (AR 28-56).
January 9, 2015, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not
disabled through the date of the decision. (AR 16-24).
Specifically, the ALJ found: (1) plaintiff suffered from the
following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of
the cervical spine with cervical strain, degenerative disc
disease of the lumbar spine with radiculopathy, dyspepsia,
helicobacter pylori infection, gastroesophageal reflux
disease, hyperlipidemia, and fracture of the left fibula (AR
18); (2) plaintiffs impairments, considered singly or in
combination, did not meet or medically equal a listed
impairment (AR 20); (3) plaintiff retained the residual
functional capacity to perform medium work (20 C.F.R. §
404.1567(c)) with additional limitations(AR 20); (4) plaintiff
could perform her past relevant work as a bakery packer (AR
22); (5) alternatively, there are also jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff
could perform, specifically industrial cleaner, courtesy
clerk, and furniture cleaner (AR 22-23); and (6) plaintiffs
statements regarding the intensity, persistence, and limiting
effects of subjective symptoms were not entirely credible (AR
4, 2016, the Appeals Council denied plaintiffs 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 not,
proceed to step two.
(2) Is the claimant's alleged impairment sufficiently
severe to limit the claimant's ability to work? If not,
the claimant is not ...