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Buitron v. Berryhill

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 10, 2017

ALESSA BUITRON, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          JUDGMENT

          Hon. Jay C. Gandhi 'United States Magistrate Judge

         For the reasons set forth in the accompanying Order of Remand, judgment is entered in Plaintiffs favor and this case is REMANDED to the Commissioner for proceedings consistent with the Ninth Circuit's March 13, 2017 judgment.

         Not for Publication

         UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

         ALESSA BUITRON, Plaintiff-Appellant, v.

         NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner Social Security, Defendant-Appellee.

         No. 15-56165

         Argued and Submitted February 7, 2017 Pasadena, California

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California Jay Gandhi, Magistrate Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 2:14-cv-03581-JCG

         Before: SCHROEDER, PREGERSON, and MURGUIA, Circuit Judges.

         MEMORANDUM [*]

         Alessa Buitron appeals the district court's decision affirming the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of Buitron's application for child insurance benefits and supplemental security income under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. To be eligible for the child's insurance benefits she seeks, the claimant must have a disability that began before the age of twenty-two. 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(1)(B). Buitron claims disability due to depression, borderline intellectual functioning and learning disabilities, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ("ADHD"), with an onset date of June 1, 2005, when she was thirteen. She has engaged in no gainful employment since that time.

         Our law is clear that an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") may not reject a treating doctor's opinion without providing specific and legitimate reasons for doing so. SeeReddickv. Chater, 157F.3d 715, 725 (9th Cir. 1998). In his decision, after stipulated remand from the district court, the ALJ effectively rejected the opinions of Buitron's three treating or examining doctors. The first was Dr. Thurber, who saw Buitron fifteen times between 2008 and 2010. Dr. Thurber rated Buitron's skills as "poor to none" with respect to maintaining attention for two hours, making simple work-related decisions, and asking simple questions. Dr. Thurber described Buitron's condition after treatment for mood disorders as "still very impaired in adult life skills and social skills."

         The ALJ in this case did not expressly reject Dr. Thurber's opinion, but he mischaracterized it as consistent with the opinion of the consulting examiner, Dr. Portnoff, who had opined that Buitron had at most moderate limitations. Their opinions are not consistent. Dr. Thurber's opinion does not support ...


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