United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
SUZANNE H. SEGAL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Sheryl Marie Wilgus ("Plaintiff") seeks review of
the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (the "Commissioner" or
"Agency") denying her application for Disability
Insurance Benefits ("DIB"). The parties consented,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), to the jurisdiction of
the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge. For the
reasons stated below, the decision of the Commissioner is
REVERSED and REMANDED for further proceedings.
filed an application for Title II DIB on January 8, 2013.
(Administrative Record ("AR") 117-20). In the
application, Plaintiff alleged a disability onset date of
July 1, 2009. (AR 117). The Agency denied Plaintiff's
application initially on May 24, 2013, and on reconsideration
on September 25, 2013. (AR 83-92, 98-101) . On October 15,
2013, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative
Law Judge ("ALJ"). (AR 104-05). Plaintiff testified
before ALJ Dale Garwal on February 12, 2015. (AR 31, 34-44) .
On March 26, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision denying
Plaintiff benefits. (AR 14, 24) . Plaintiff timely requested
review of the ALJ's decision, which the Appeals Council
denied on July 13, 2016. (AR 1-4) . Plaintiff filed the
instant action on August 16, 2016.
was born on May 27, 1961. (AR 117). Plaintiff was forty-eight
years old at the time of her alleged disability onset date of
July 1, 2009 (AR 117), and 53 years old at the time of her
hearing before the ALJ. (AR 35). Plaintiff completed sixteen
years of education, graduating from dental hygiene school in
1986. (AR 35, 154, 161) . Plaintiff worked as a dental
hygienist from 1986 until 2009. (AR 154, 161). Plaintiff
stopped working in June 2009. (AR 35). Plaintiff alleges
disability due to migraine headaches and back pain. (AR 35,
Treating Physician's Opinion
November 2009 through August 2012, Plaintiff's treating
physician Kristi Wrightson, N.D., noted that Plaintiff had a
history of migraine headaches. (AR 231-40 (records from
11-10-09, 5-19-10, 9-17-10, 1-19-11, 7-7-11, 11-18-11,
3-6-12, 3-20-12, and 8-29-12)) . From September 2010 through
August 2012, Dr. Wrightson reported that Plaintiff's
migraine headaches were without aura and without mention of
intractability. (AR 232-37 (records from 9-17-10, 1-19-11,
7-7-11, 11-18-11, 3-6-12, and 8-29-12)). In 2013, Dr.
Wrightson noted that Plaintiff's migraine headaches were
"without aura, with intractable migraine, so stated,
without mention of status migrainosus." (AR 245, 246,
250 (records from 4-15-13, 6-25-13, and 10-1-13)). In other
records, Dr. Wrightson diagnosed Plaintiff with migraine
headaches with aura. (AR 211 (record printed on 4-10-13
diagnosing Plaintiff with, among other conditions,
"migraine with aura, with intractable migraine, so
stated, without mention of status mig[rainosus]"); AR
251, 252, 261 (diagnosing same on 1-8-14, 3-6-14, and
Disability Determination for Social Security Treating
Physician's Migraine Headache Form dated April 15, 2013,
Dr. Wrightson reported that Plaintiff has left-sided migraine
headaches two times per week that last 24 hours. (AR 244).
Dr. Wrightson noted that Plaintiff has the symptoms of nausea
and vomiting, photophobia, phonophobia, and throbbing and
pulsating. (AR 244). Dr. Wrightson reported that Plaintiff
uses Imitrex and Vicodin to treat her migraine headaches and
Plaintiff's response to these medications is fair. (AR
244) . Dr. Wrightson opined that Plaintiff's headaches
interfered with her ability to work an average of one day per
week. (AR 244).
medical source statement dated February 14, 2014, Dr.
Wrightson opined that Plaintiff's abilities to deal with
the public, maintain concentration, and withstand the stress
and pressure of an eight-hour workday are extremely limited
due to her migraine headaches and anxiety. (AR 253). Dr.
Wrightson also opined that Plaintiff's abilities to
relate to and interact with supervisors and co-workers as
well as to understand, remember, and carry out an extensive
variety of technical and/or complex job instructions are
moderately limited. (AR 253).
Non-Examining Physicians' Opinions
21, 2013, Disability Determinations Service medical advisor
Kenneth Glass, M.D., reviewed the record and opined that
Plaintiff has a primary physical medically determinable
impairment of migraine headaches, non-severe. (AR 80) . On
September 6, 2013, Disability Determinations Service medical
advisor Francis T. Greene, M.D., reviewed the record and
affirmed the finding that Plaintiff's physical condition
is non-severe. (AR 89, 92).
THE FIVE-STEP SEQUENTIAL EVALUATION PROCESS
qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must demonstrate
a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that
prevents her from engaging in substantial gainful activity
and that is expected to result in death or to last for a
continuous period of at least twelve months. Reddick v.
Chater, 157 F.3d 715, 721 (9th Cir. 1998) (citing 42
U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A)). The impairment must render the
claimant incapable of performing the work she previously
performed and incapable of performing any other substantial