United States District Court, C.D. California
YVONNE R. IBARRA, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
SAGAR UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
to Sentence 4 of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED that this matter is remanded for further
administrative action consistent with this Opinion.
April 27, 2012, Plaintiff Yvonne R. Ibarra
(“Plaintiff”) applied for social security
benefits alleging a disabling condition beginning April 1,
2010. (AR 143). On November 4, 2013, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) William K. Mueller examined the records
and heard testimony from Plaintiff and vocational expert
(“V.E.”) David Rinehart. (AR 31-58). On December
4, 2013, the ALJ denied Plaintiff benefits in a written
decision. (AR 14-26). The Appeals Council denied review of
the ALJ's decision. (AR 1-3).
8, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) alleging that the Social Security
Administration erred in denying benefits. (Docket Entry No.
1). On November 15, 2016, Defendant filed an Answer to the
Complaint, (Docket Entry No. 15), and the Certified
Administrative Record (“AR”), (Docket Entry No.
16). The parties have consented to proceed before a United
States Magistrate Judge. (Docket Entry Nos. 11, 12). On
February 9, 2017, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation
(“Joint Stip.”) setting forth their respective
positions on Plaintiff's claims. (Docket Entry No. 17).
SUMMARY OF ALJ'S DECISION
applied the five-step process in evaluating Plaintiff's
case. (AR 17-19). At step one, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
after the date of her application. (AR 19). At step two, the
ALJ found that Plaintiff's severe impairments included a
right hip replacement and obesity. (AR 19). In making this
finding, the ALJ ruled that Plaintiff's medically
determinable adjustment disorder did not constitute a severe
mental impairment. (AR 20). At step three, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or equal a listing
found in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (AR
proceeding to step four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform
light work, “except occasionally perform postural
activities.” (AR 21). In making his RFC finding, the
ALJ ruled that Plaintiff's allegations concerning the
intensity, persistence, and limiting effects of her symptoms
were “less than fully credible.” (AR 22).
four, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff was able to perform
past relevant work as a waitress, owner/operator of a
painting company, personnel recruiter, and assistant manager.
(AR 25-26). Accordingly, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff
was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security
Act. (AR 26).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
court reviews the Administration's decision to determine
if the decision is free of legal error and supported by
substantial evidence. See Brewes v. Commissioner of Soc.
Sec. Admin., 682 F.3d 1157, 1161 (9th Cir. 2012).
“Substantial evidence” is more than a mere
scintilla, but less than a preponderance. Garrison v.
Colvin, 759 F.3d 995, 1009 (9th Cir. 2014). To determine
whether substantial evidence supports a finding, “a
court must consider the record as a whole, weighing both
evidence that supports and evidence that detracts from the
[Commissioner's] conclusion.” Aukland v.
Massanari, 257 F.3d 1033, 1035 (9th Cir. 2001) (internal
quotation omitted). As a result, “[i]f the evidence can
support either affirming or reversing the ALJ's
conclusion, [a court] may not substitute [its] judgment for
that of the ALJ.” Robbins v. Soc. Sec. Admin.,
466 F.3d 880, 882 (9th Cir. 2006).
raises two grounds for relief. First, Plaintiff claims that
the ALJ's RFC assessment was not supported by substantial
evidence because the ALJ improperly determined that
Plaintiff's lumbar spine impairment and adjustment
disorder were not “severe” impairments.
(See Joint Stip. at 4-7). Second, Plaintiff claims
that the ALJ provided insufficient reasons for rejecting her
subjective complaints. (Id. at 13-15).
reviewing the record, the Court finds that Plaintiff's
claim regarding her adjustment disorder warrants remand for
further consideration. The Court ...