United States District Court, C.D. California
LYDIA J. DAVIS, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
CHARLES F. EICK UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
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.
November 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint seeking review
of the Commissioner's denial of disability benefits. On
December 14, 2016, the parties consented to a Magistrate
Judge. On March 21, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for
summary judgment. On April 12, 2017, Defendant filed a motion
for summary judgment. The Court has taken the motions for
summary judgment under submission without oral argument.
See L.R. 7-15; “Order, ” filed November
asserts disability based on a combination of alleged
impairments (Administrative Record (“A.R.”)
56-58, 183, 292-93). The Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) found Plaintiff suffers from severe
impairments which preclude the performance of Plaintiff's
past relevant work and which reduce Plaintiff's residual
functional capacity to the “capacity to perform
sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(a)”
(A.R. 24, 26, 33).
determine whether there exist any jobs Plaintiff can perform,
the ALJ consulted a vocational expert and used Rules 201.15
and 201.07 of the Grids as “the framework” for
decision making (A.R. 34-35, 68-73). In response to a
hypothetical question which assumed the residual functional
capacity found by the ALJ, the vocational expert identified
only one job, the sedentary job of “data entry, ”
as a job a person so limited could perform (A.R. 68-72). The
vocational expert also opined that Plaintiff's skill in
“inputting information from a numerical or alphabetical
[sic] into a computer utilizing a keyboard” would
transfer to the “data entry” job (A.R. 72-73).
The ALJ did not ask the vocational expert whether any
vocational adjustment would be required to transfer
Plaintiff's skill from her past relevant work to the
“data entry” job.
denying disability, the ALJ concluded Plaintiff could perform
the “data entry” job and Plaintiff's skill in
“inputting information, numerical or letters, into the
computer with use of a keyboard” would transfer thereto
(A.R. 34). The ALJ did not make any finding regarding whether
any vocational adjustment would be required. Plaintiff was 55
years old at the time of the ALJ's decision (A.R. 35,
183). The Appeals Council considered additional evidence, but
denied review (A.R. 1-6).
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
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 that supports and evidence that detracts from the
Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir.
1999) (citations and quotations omitted).
as here, the Appeals Council considered additional evidence
but denied review, the additional evidence becomes part of
the record for purposes of the Court's analysis. See
Brewes v. Commissioner, 682 F.3d at 1163 (“[W]hen
the Appeals Council considers new evidence in deciding
whether to review a decision of the ALJ, that evidence
becomes part of the administrative record, which the district
court must consider when reviewing the Commissioner's
final decision for substantial evidence”; expressly
adopting Ramirez v. Shalala, 8 F.3d 1449, 1452 (9th
Cir. 1993)); Taylor v. Commissioner, 659 F.3d 1228,
1231 (2011) (courts may consider evidence presented for the
first time to the Appeals Council “to determine
whether, in light of the record as a whole, the ALJ's
decision was supported by substantial evidence and was free
of legal error”); Penny v. Sullivan, 2 ...