United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. STANDISH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Leslie Massey (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint
seeking review of Defendant Commissioner of Social
Security's (“Commissioner”) denial of his
application for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”). The parties filed consents to proceed
before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge [Dkts.
11, 12] and briefs addressing disputed issues in the case
[Dkt. 19 (“Pltf.'s Br.”) and Dkt. 22
(“Def.'s Br.”). The Court has taken the
parties' briefing under submission without oral argument.
For the reasons discussed below, the Court finds that this
matter should be remanded for further proceedings.
ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION UNDER REVIEW
February 25, 2010, Plaintiff filed an application for DIB and
SSI, alleging that he became disabled as of December 12,
2005. [Dkt. 15, Administrative Record (“AR”)
125-134.] The Commissioner denied his initial claim for
benefits and then denied his claim upon reconsideration. [AR
77-83; 85-96.] On April 2, 2012, a hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Mary L.
Everstein. [AR 44-70.] On April 13, 2012, the ALJ issued a
decision denying Plaintiff's request for benefits. [AR
23-33.] Plaintiff requested review from the Appeals Council,
which denied review. [AR 1-6.]
filed a civil action on October 17, 2013. United States
Magistrate Judge Carla R. Woehrle remanded the case to the
Commissioner for further proceedings on August 4, 2014. [AR
427-437 (Massey v. Colvin, CV 13-7353-CW, Dkt. 16).]
Subsequently, on April 7, 2015 a second hearing was held
before the same ALJ. [AR 371-395.] On May 28, 2015, the ALJ
issued a decision again denying Plaintiff's request for
benefits. [AR 321-339.] Plaintiff requested review from the
Appeals Council, which denied review. Plaintiff now seeks
review from this Court.
the five-step sequential evaluation process, the ALJ found
that Plaintiff was not disabled. See 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(b)-(g)(1) 416.920(b)-(g)(1). At step
one, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since December 12, 2005, the
alleged onset date, through December 31, 2010, his date last
insured. [AR 323.] At step two, the ALJ found that Plaintiff
suffered from the following severe impairments: obesity, heel
spurs, left shoulder impingement syndrome with degenerative
changes, asthma controlled on medication, bipolar disorder,
depressive disorder, NOS, anxiety disorder, NOS, and a
history of polysubstance abuse in remission. [AR 324 (citing
20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c).] Next, the
ALJ determined that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the
severity of one of the listed impairments. [AR 327 (citing 20
C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1; 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.920(d),
416.925, and 416.926).]
found that Plaintiff had the following residual functional
[M]edium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(c)
except the claimant is restricted to simple, routine tasks in
a nonpublic environment that involves only incidental or
superficial contact with the public. The claimant must avoid
concentrated exposure to dust, fumes, and respiratory
[AR 328.] Applying this RFC, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff was unable to perform his past relevant work, but
determined that based on his age (44 years old) limited
education, and ability to communicate in English, he could
perform representative occupations such as hand packer (DOT
920.587-018), laundry worker (DOT 361.685-018), hospital food
server (DOT 319.677-014), retail marker (DOT 209.587-034),
and hotel/motel housekeeper (DOT 323.687-014) and, thus, is
not disabled. [AR 333-334; 387-388.]
42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the Court reviews the
Commissioner's decision to determine if: (1) the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence; and (2) the Commissioner used correct legal
standards. See Carmickle v. Comm'r Soc. Sec.
Admin., 533 F.3d 1155, 1159 (9th Cir. 2008); Hoopai
v. Astrue, 499 F.3d 1071, 1074 (9th Cir. 2007).
Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S.
389, 401 (1971) (internal citation and quotations omitted);
see also Hoopai, 499 F.3d at 1074.
contends that the ALJ rejected the opinions of a treating
psychiatrist and two consultative psychiatric examiners
without stating legally sufficient reasons for doing so.
[Pltf.'s Br. at 5-12.] As set forth below, the Court