United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
FREDERICK F. MUMM United States Magistrate Judge
brings this action seeking to overturn the decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration denying his application for Supplemental
Security Income benefits. Plaintiff and defendant consented
to the jurisdiction of the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
Pursuant to the Case Management Order filed on July 6, 2016,
on February 2, 2017, the parties filed a Joint Stipulation
(“JS”) detailing each party's arguments and
authorities. The Court has reviewed the administrative record
(the “AR”) and the Joint Stipulation. For the
reasons stated below, the decision of the Commissioner is
April 18, 2013, plaintiff applied for Supplemental Security
Income benefits. (AR 141-50.) His application was denied
initially (AR 57) and on reconsideration (AR 68). Thereafter,
plaintiff requested a hearing before an administrative law
judge (“ALJ”). (AR 5-6.) On September 25, 2014,
ALJ John Wojciechowski held a hearing. (AR 20-45.) Plaintiff
appeared at the hearing with counsel. (See id.)
November 21, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision denying
plaintiff benefits. (AR 7-19.) In the decision, the ALJ found
that plaintiff's impairments neither meet nor equal any
listing found in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, subpart P, app'x 1.
(AR 12.) Moreover, the ALJ determined that plaintiff
possesses the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform “light work” with
the following limitations:
[T]he claimant can lift and/or carry up to 20 pounds
occasionally and 10 pounds frequently; can sit for six hours
and stand/walk for six hours in an eight-hour workday; can
occasionally climb, stoop, kneel, crawl and crouch; can never
use ladders, ropes or scaffolds; and can frequently balance.
The claimant is further limited to frequent bilateral
reaching and handling and frequent overhead reaching with the
left (non-dominant) upper extremity. The claimant should
avoid concentrated exposure in the workplace to extreme heat,
cold, vibration, and industrial hazards
13.) In determining plaintiff's RFC, the ALJ rejected the
opinions of Dr. Khai Do, plaintiff's treating
physician. (AR 14.) Based on his RFC determination
and the testimony of a vocational expert, the ALJ found that
plaintiff is capable of performing work existing in the
national economy and is therefore not disabled. (AR 15-16.)
6, 2016, the Appeals Council denied review. (AR 1-3.)
Plaintiff filed the instant complaint on May 27, 2016. (Dkt.
raises a single contention in this action:
1. Whether the ALJ properly considered the opinions of
plaintiff's treating physician, Dr. Do.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court reviews the
Administration's decisions to determine if: (1) the
Administration's findings are supported by substantial
evidence; and (2) the Administration used proper legal
standards. Smolen v. Chater, 80 F.3d 1273, 1279 (9th
Cir. 1996) (citations omitted). “Substantial evidence
is more than a scintilla, but less than a
preponderance.” Reddick v. Chater, 157 F.3d
715, 720 (9th Cir. 1998) (citation omitted). 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.” Auckland v.
Massanari, 257 F.3d 1033, 1035 (9th Cir. 2001) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
evidence in the record can reasonably support either
affirming or reversing the ALJ's conclusion, the Court
may not substitute its judgment for that of the ALJ.
Robbins v. Soc. Sec. Admin., 466 F.3d 880, 882 (9th
Cir. 2006) (citing Flaten v. Sec'y of Health &
Human Servs., 44 F.3d 1453, 1457 (9th Cir. 1995)).
However, even if substantial evidence exists to support the
Commissioner's decision, the decision must be reversed if
the proper legal ...