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Braswell v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 31, 2017

ANTHONY W. BRASWELL, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER

          EDMUND F. BRENNAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying his application for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. The parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment. For the reasons discussed below, plaintiff's motion is granted, the Commissioner's motion is denied, and the matter is remanded for further proceedings.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed an application for SSI, alleging that he had been disabled since August 22, 2006.[1] Administrative Record (“AR”) 228-236. His application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. Id. at 110-115, 118-123. On March 3, 2014, a hearing was held before administrative law judge (“ALJ”) L. Kalei Fong. Id. at 47-79. Plaintiff was represented by counsel at the hearing, at which he and a vocational expert testified. Id.

         On June 13, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision finding that plaintiff was not disabled under section 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Act.[2] Id. at 27-41. The ALJ made the following specific findings:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 23, 2012, the amended onset date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: bipolar disorder with psychotic features; depressive disorder; antisocial personality disorder; cannabis dependency; alcohol and amphetamine dependency in partial remission; degenerative disc disease of the cervical and lumbar spine; and degenerative joint disease of the feet (20 CFR 416.920(c)).
* * *
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
* * *
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) in that he can stand and walk for six hours of an eight hour day; sit for six hours of an eight hour day; can lift and carry twenty five pounds frequently and occasionally; can frequently balance, bend, crouch, crawl, kneel, stoop, climb; can frequently interact with supervisors and co-workers but rarely with the public - generally he must avoid public contact; he can maintain concentration, persistence and pace for simple repetitive tasks in a non-competitive work environment with little to no changes in routine.
* * *
5. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).
6. The claimant was born [in] 1963 and was 49 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed. The claimant subsequently changed age category to closely approaching advanced age but he [sic] undersigned finds no good cause to apply the age rules non-mechanically (20 CFR 416.963).
7. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).
8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work (20 CFR 416.968).
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant number in the national economy that the claimant could perform (20 CFR 416.969 and 416.969(a)).
* * *
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since February 23, 2012, the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.920(g) .

Id. at 29-40.

         Plaintiff's request for Appeals Council review was denied on October 26, 2015, leaving the ALJ's decision as the final decision of the Commissioner. Id. at 3-8.

         II. LE ...


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