United States District Court, C.D. California
FAWNDA M. ROBERTS MURPHY, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
JACQUELINE CHOOLJIAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
November 18, 2016, Fawnda M. Roberts Murphy
(“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;
November 22, 2016 Case Management Order ¶ 5.
on the record as a whole and the applicable law, the decision
of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED. The findings of the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) are supported by
substantial evidence and are free from material error.
BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
April 27, 2011, plaintiff filed an application for Disability
Insurance Benefits alleging disability beginning on November
15, 2010, due to severe depression, extreme fatigue, and
memory loss. (Administrative Record (“AR”) 98,
252, 284). The ALJ examined the medical record and heard
testimony from plaintiff (who was not represented by counsel)
and vocational and medical experts on January 24, 2013. (AR
January 28, 2013, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not
disabled through May 31, 2011, the date last
insured (“Pre-Remand Decision”). (AR
17, 2014, the Appeals Council granted review, vacated the
Pre-Remand Decision, and remanded the matter for further
administrative proceedings. (AR 112-14).
November 25, 2014, the ALJ again examined the medical record
and also heard testimony from plaintiff (who was represented
by counsel), and vocational and medical experts
(“Post-Remand Hearing”). (AR 48-69).
December 4, 2014, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not
disabled through the date of the decision (“Post-Remand
Decision”). (AR 9-21). Specifically, the ALJ found:
(1) plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments:
fatigue, depression, memory loss, back strain, and obesity
(AR 12); (2) plaintiff's impairments, considered singly
or in combination, did not meet or medically equal a listed
impairment (AR 13-14); (3) plaintiff retained the residual
functional capacity to perform light work (20 C.F.R. §
404.1567(b)), with additional limitations (AR 14); (4)
plaintiff was capable of performing past relevant work as a
dealer compliance representative (AR 19); (5) alternatively,
there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the
national economy that plaintiff could perform, specifically
office helper, mail clerk, and routing clerk (AR 19-20); and
(6) plaintiff's statements regarding the intensity,
persistence, and limiting effects of subjective symptoms were
not credible to the extent they were inconsistent with the
ALJ's residual functional capacity assessment (AR 15).
September 28, 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 ...