United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. STANDISH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Lesly Lynnene Lewis (“Plaintiff”) filed a
complaint seeking review of Defendant Commissioner of Social
Security's (“Commissioner”) denial of her
application for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”). The parties filed consents to proceed
before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge [Dkts.
10, 11] and briefs addressing disputed issues in the case
[Dkt. 20 (“Pltf.'s Br.”); Dkt. 23
(“Def.'s Br.”), Dkt. 24 (“Pltf.'s
Statement of No Reply”)]. The Court has taken the
parties' briefing under submission without oral argument.
For the reasons discussed below, the Court finds that this
matter should be remanded for further proceedings.
ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION UNDER REVIEW
1, 2011, Plaintiff filed an application for DIB, alleging
that she became disabled as of August 1, 2010. [Dkt. 14,
Administrative Record (“AR”) 10.] The
Commissioner denied her initial claim for benefits in October
2011 and then denied her claim upon reconsideration in May
2012. [Id.] On January 9, 2013, a hearing was held
before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) James P.
Nguyen. [AR 27-46.] On January 31, 2013, the ALJ issued a
decision denying Plaintiff's request for benefits. [AR
7-23.] Plaintiff requested review from the Appeals Council,
but the Appeals Council denied her request for review on
April 28, 2014. [AR 1-3.]
filed a civil action on July 7, 2014. This Court remanded the
case to the Commissioner for further proceedings on July 9,
2015. [AR 394-407 (Lewis v. Colvin,
5:14-cv-01326-GJS, Dkt. 27).] Subsequently, on February 23,
2016, a second hearing was held before ALJ Dante M. Alegre.
[AR 358-389.] On April 9, 2016, the ALJ issued a decision
again denying Plaintiff's request for benefits. [AR
449-467.] Plaintiff now seeks review directly from this
Court. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.984.
the five-step sequential evaluation process, the ALJ found
that Plaintiff was not disabled. See 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(b)-(g)(1). At step one, the ALJ
concluded that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since the alleged onset date of August 1,
2010 through her date last insured of December 31, 2015. [AR
454.] At step two, the ALJ found that Plaintiff suffered from
the following severe impairments: obesity; migraines; carpal
tunnel syndrome, right; peripheral neuropathy; obstructive
sleep apnea (OSA); bipolar disorder; and depressive disorder
with anxiety. [Id. (citing 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(c).] Next, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff did not
have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets
or medically equals the severity of one of the listed
impairments. [AR 455 (citing 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1; 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(d), 404.1525,
found that Plaintiff had the following residual functional
[L]ight work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b). Specifically,
the claimant can lift/carry twenty pounds occasionally and
ten pounds frequently; stand/walk for six hours out of an
eight hour workday; sit for six hours out of an eight hour
workday; occasionally climb ramps and stairs; never climb
ladders, ropes, and scaffolds, occasionally balance, stoop,
kneel, crouch, and crawl; and frequently handle and finger.
The claimant can understand, remember and carry out simple
job tasks, but capable of performing GED level 1, 2, or 3,
the claimant is unable to perform work that would require
directing others, abstract thought or planning, maintain
attention and concentration to perform simple tasks in a work
environment free of fast paced production requirements, with
frequent interaction with supervisors, coworkers and the
public. The claimant can work in an environment with
occasional changes to the work setting and occasional work
related decision making.
[AR 457.] Applying this RFC, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff is unable to perform any past relevant work, but
determined that based on Plaintiff's age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, she could
perform representative occupations such as mail clerk (DOT
209.687-026), office helper (DOT 239.567-010), and,
assembler, electrical (DOT 729.687-010) and, thus, is not
disabled. [AR 461-462.]
42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the Court reviews the
Commissioner's decision to determine if: (1) the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence; and (2) the Commissioner used correct legal
standards. See Carmickle v. Comm'r Soc. Sec.
Admin., 533 F.3d 1155, 1159 (9th Cir. 2008); Hoopai
v. Astrue, 499 F.3d 1071, 1074 (9th Cir. 2007).
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) (internal citation and quotations omitted);
see also Hoopai, 499 F.3d at 1074.
contends that the ALJ: (1) erred in assessing her RFC and (2)
erred in the assessment of her credibility. [Pltf.'s Br.
at 1-2.] As set forth below, the Court agrees with ...