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.

Kinder v. Berryhill

United States District Court, C.D. California

March 23, 2017

JEFFREY ALAN KINDER, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND

          CHARLES F. EICK, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. section 405(g), IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's and Defendant's motions for summary judgment are denied, and this matter is remanded for further administrative action consistent with this Opinion.

         PROCEEDINGS

         On August 31, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint seeking review of the Commissioner's denial of disability benefits. On January 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment. On February 15, 2017, Defendant filed a “Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Answer, ” which the Court construes as Defendant's motion for summary judgment. On March 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed a reply. The parties consented to a Magistrate Judge on October 24, 2016. The Court has taken the motions for summary judgment under submission without oral argument. See L.R. 7-15; “Order, ” filed October 6, 2016.

         BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION

         Plaintiff, a former sales supervisor and sales representative, alleges disability since January 12, 2012, based on, inter alia, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and anxiety (Administrative Record (“A.R.”) 69, 175-89, 194-95, 207). Several of Plaintiff's treating physicians opined that Plaintiff's impairments have disabled him from performing any work (A.R. 412-14, 610, 642-43, 743-45, 839-42, 843-47, 848-51, 948-49, 952, 966-68). In particular, treating physicians Dr. Klinghardt and Dr. Schaffner of the Sophia Health Institute opined that the symptomatology from Plaintiff's Lyme disease is of disabling severity (A.R. 412-14, 839-42, 948-49).

         The Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found Plaintiff suffers from severe Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and anxiety (A.R. 31). The ALJ also found that these severe impairments prevent Plaintiff from performing Plaintiff's past relevant work (A.R. 31, 38). According to the ALJ, however, Plaintiff retains the residual functional capacity to perform other work (A.R. 32-39). In reaching this conclusion, the ALJ discounted the opinions of several of Plaintiff's treating physicians and relied instead on the opinions of non-examining state agency physicians, to which the ALJ expressly gave “significant weight” and “great weight” (A.R. 33-37).

         Plaintiff sought review from the Appeals Council, and submitted additional evidence thereto (see A.R. 1-8). The Appeals Council “considered” some of this additional evidence, but denied review (id.). The Appeals Council “looked at” other of this additional evidence, including a report from Dr. Kim Barrus, dated June 30, 2015 (A.R. 2). The Appeals Council stated that Dr. Barrus' report was “about a later time” than the time of the ALJ's March 9, 2015 decision (id.).

         In the present proceeding, on January 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed a “Motion to Enter Report of Kim Barrus PhD into Administrative Record” (“the Motion to Enter Report”). The Motion to Enter Report seeks an order that the June 30, 2015 Report of Dr. Barrus (attached thereto) be entered into the Administrative Record. Defendant failed to file a response to the Motion to Enter Report, despite a Court order that Defendant do so. See Minute Order filed January 18, 2017.

         The June 30, 2015 report of Dr. Barrus interprets and critiques a 2013 report by Dr. David Franklin and also interprets results from neuropsychological testing that took place in 2013. See A.R. 581-87. Thus, the substance of Dr. Barrus' report concerns a time frame before, not after, the ALJ's March 9, 2015 decision. The Motion to Enter Report is granted. See L.R. 7-12 (“The failure to file any required document, or the failure to file it within the deadline, may be deemed consent to the granting or denial of the motion”). The Court's granting of the Motion to Enter Report is academic, however, because the Court's ruling on the motions for summary judgment would remain the same regardless of whether Dr. Barrus' report is or is not a part of the Administrative Record under review.[1]

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under 42 U.S.C. section 405(g), this Court reviews the Administration's decision to determine if: (1) the Administration's findings are supported by substantial evidence; and (2) the Administration used correct legal standards. See Carmickle v. Commissioner, 533 F.3d 1155, 1159 (9th Cir. 2008); Hoopai v. Astrue, 499 F.3d 1071, 1074 (9th Cir. 2007); see also Brewes v. Commissioner of Social Sec. Admin., 682 F.3d 1157, 1161 (9th Cir. 2012). Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (citation and quotations omitted); see Widmark v. Barnhart, 454 F.3d 1063, 1066 (9th Cir. 2006).

If the evidence can support either outcome, the court may not substitute its judgment for that of the ALJ. But the Commissioner's decision cannot be affirmed simply by isolating a specific quantum of supporting evidence. Rather, a court must consider the record as a whole, weighing both evidence ...

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.