United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
HONORABLE JACQUELINE CHOOLJIAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
August 24, 2016, Terry Lee Trautloff
(“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;
August 26, 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
March 25, 2013, plaintiff filed an application for Disability
Insurance Benefits alleging disability beginning on November
1, 2012, due to back spasms, back injury, pain, degenerative
disc disease, loss of range of motion, arthritis,
hypertension, and chronic right knee pain. (Administrative
Record (“AR”) 51, 246, 266-67). The
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) examined the
medical record and heard testimony from plaintiff (who was
represented by counsel), plaintiff's spouse, and a
vocational expert on December 15, 2014. (AR 64-92).
January 16, 2015, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not
disabled through the date of the decision. (AR 51-59).
Specifically, the ALJ found: (1) plaintiff suffered from the
following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of
the lumbar spine, L5 par fracture, myofascial low back pain,
right knee pain, left knee degenerative joint disease and
medial meniscus tear, and left shoulder pain (status post
SLAP repair of left shoulder) (AR 53); (2) plaintiff's
impairments, considered singly or in combination, did not
meet or medically equal a listed impairment (AR 54); (3)
plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity to
perform medium work (20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(c)) with
additional limitations(AR 54); (4) plaintiff was capable of
performing past relevant work as a ski binding fitter and
repairer (AR 58); and (5) plaintiff's statements
regarding the intensity, persistence, and limiting effects of
subjective symptoms were not entirely credible (AR 55).
August 2, 2016, the 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 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 ...