United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
JACQUELINE CHOOLJIAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
September 6, 2016, Jaclyn Delice Cali
(“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;
September 7, 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
August 17, 2011, plaintiff filed an application for
Disability Insurance Benefits alleging disability beginning
on February 16, 2011, due to trigeminal neuralgia,
supraventricular tachycardia (svt), depression, and restless
leg syndrome. (Administrative Record (“AR”) 12,
October 24, 2012, the Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) determined that plaintiff was not
disabled through the date of the decision (“Pre-Remand
Decision”). (AR 12-22). The Appeals Council denied
plaintiff's application for review of the Pre-Remand
Decision. (AR 1).
January 28, 2015, a different United States Magistrate Judge
entered judgment reversing and remanding the case for further
proceedings because the ALJ had improperly evaluated
plaintiff's subjective complaints. (AR 401-13). The
Appeals Council in turn remanded the case for a new hearing.
(AR 414-16). On remand, the ALJ held a hearing on April 14,
2016 (“Post-Remand Hearing”), during which the
ALJ heard testimony from plaintiff (who was represented by
counsel) and a vocational expert. (AR 305-37).
26, 2016, the ALJ again determined that plaintiff was not
disabled through the date of the decision (“Post-Remand
Decision”). (AR 288-99). Specifically, the ALJ found:
(1) plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments:
anxiety, asthma, depression, hypertension, migraine
headaches, and trigeminal neuralgia (AR 290); (2)
plaintiff's impairments, considered singly or in
combination, did not meet or medically equal a listed
impairment (AR 290-91); (3) plaintiff retained the residual
functional capacity to perform work at all exertional levels
with additional nonexertional limitations (AR 292); (4)
plaintiff could not perform any past relevant work (AR 297);
(5) there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the
national economy that plaintiff could perform, specifically
receptionist, appointment clerk, and general clerk (AR 298);
and (6) plaintiff's statements regarding the intensity,
persistence, and limiting effects of subjective symptoms were
“not entirely consistent with the medical evidence and
other evidence in the record” (AR 292).
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 disabled. If so, proceed to step three.
(3) Does the claimant's impairment, or combination of
impairments, meet or equal an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R.
Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (“Listings”)? If
so, the claimant is disabled. If not, proceed to step four.
(4) Does the claimant possess the residual functional
capacity to perform claimant's past relevant work? If so,
the claimant is not disabled. If not, proceed to step five.
(5) Does the claimant's residual functional capacity,
when considered with the claimant's age, education, and
work experience, allow the claimant to adjust to other work
that exists in significant numbers in the national economy?
If so, the claimant is not disabled. If not, the claimant is
Stout v. Commissioner, Social Security
Administration, 454 F.3d 1050, 1052 (9th Cir. 2006)
(citations omitted); see also 20 C.F.R. ...