United States District Court, C.D. California
GARRY C. LEDESMA, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
G. ROSENBERG United States Magistrate Judge
filed this action on May 13, 2016. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c), the parties consented to proceed before the
magistrate judge. (Dkt. Nos. 12, 13.) On May 11, 2017, the
parties filed a Joint Stipulation that addressed the disputed
issues. The court has taken the matter under submission
without oral argument.
reviewed the entire file, the court reverses the decision of
the Commissioner and remands for further proceedings
consistent with this opinion.
March 8, 2011, Ledesma filed an application for disability
insurance benefits. Administrative Record (“AR”)
The claim was denied initially and on reconsideration. AR
187, 205. On September 20, 2012, an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) conducted a hearing at which Ledesma and
a vocational expert testified. AR 114-131. Ledesma amended
the onset date from August 15, 2008 to February 12, 2011. AR
209. On October 5, 2012, that ALJ issued a decision denying
benefits. AR 206-219.
December 5, 2013, the Appeals Council granted review and
remanded the ALJ's decision dated October 5, 2012. AR
224-226. On remand, the ALJ was ordered to obtain additional
evidence concerning Ledesma's impairments, obtain
evidence from a medical expert in the field of
gastroenterology, give further consideration to Ledesma's
residual functional capacity and, if warranted, obtain
supplemental evidence from a vocational expert. AR 225-226.
remand, on April 14, 2015, the ALJ conducted a hearing at
which Ledesma, a medical expert and a vocational expert
testified. AR 132-165. On June 4, 2015, the ALJ issued a
decision denying benefits. AR 18-34. On March 17, 2016, the
Appeals Council denied the request for review. AR 1-6. This
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this court has authority to
review the Commissioner's decision to deny benefits. The
decision will be disturbed only if it is not supported by
substantial evidence, or if it is based upon the application
of improper legal standards. Moncada v. Chater, 60
F.3d 521, 523 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam); Drouin v.
Sullivan, 966 F.2d 1255, 1257 (9th Cir. 1992).
evidence” means “more than a mere scintilla but
less than a preponderance - it is such relevant evidence that
a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the
conclusion.” Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523. In
determining whether substantial evidence exists to support
the Commissioner's decision, the court examines the
administrative record as a whole, considering adverse as well
as supporting evidence. Drouin, 966 F.2d at 1257.
When the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational
interpretation, the court must defer to the
Commissioner's decision. Moncada, 60 F.3d at
person qualifies as disabled, and thereby eligible for such
benefits, “only if his physical or mental impairment or
impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable
to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age,
education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of
substantial gainful work which exists in the national
economy.” Barnhart v. Thomas, 540 U.S. 20,
21-22, 124 S.Ct. 376, 157 L.Ed.2d 333 (2003) (citation and
quotation marks omitted).