United States District Court, C.D. California
SHARONNA C. JACKSON, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HONORABLE KENLY KIYA KATO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Sharonna C. Jackson (“Plaintiff”) filed a
Complaint seeking review of the final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“Commissioner” or “Agency”) denying
his application for Title XVI Supplemental Security Income
Benefits (“SSI”). Plaintiff filed a Motion to
Augment the Administrative Record, which the Court construes
as a Motion for Remand pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)
(“Motion”). The parties have consented to the
jurisdiction of the undersigned United States Magistrate
Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). For the reasons
stated below, Plaintiff's Motion is GRANTED and this
action is REMANDED for further proceedings consistent with
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
11, 2012, Plaintiff filed an application for SSI, alleging a
disability onset date of January 1, 2004. Administrative
Record (“AR”) at 178-86. Plaintiff alleges
disability based on Attention Deficit Disorder; Social
Anxiety Disorder; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Migraines;
Bilateral Ankle Deformity; Asthma; and “GI
Disorder.” Id. at 194. Plaintiff's
application was denied initially on January 31, 2013, and
upon reconsideration on October 3, 2013. Id. at
November 13, 2013, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). Id. at
133. On November 13, 2014, Plaintiff appeared with counsel
and testified at a hearing before the assigned ALJ.
Id. at 50-82. A vocational expert (“VE”)
also testified at the hearing. Id. at 82-86. On
February 27, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision denying
Plaintiff's application for SSI. Id. at 27-43.
April 28, 2015, Plaintiff filed a request to the Agency's
Appeals Council to review the ALJ's decision.
Id. at 22-26.
9, 2015, Plaintiff's counsel wrote to the Appeals Counsel
and provided additional evidence. ECF Docket No.
(“Dkt.”) 19, Ex. 1. Specifically, Plaintiff
provided a Medical Source Statement from psychiatrist
Catherine Stinnett, MD dated June 16, 2015 regarding
Plaintiff's mental limitations and requested that it be
included in Plaintiff's file. Id. The evaluation
form states Dr. Stinnett first examined Plaintiff on May 6,
2010 and thereafter every six to twelve months through her
most recent examination on January 8, 2015. Id. at
6. Dr. Stinnett opined Plaintiff had an extreme limitation in
her ability to interact appropriately with the public, and
marked limitations in her abilities to: (1) maintain
attendance and punctuality during a workday and workweek; (2)
perform at a consistent pace without more than regular breaks
in a work day; (3) interact appropriately with supervisors;
and (4) interact appropriately with co-workers. Id.
18, 2016, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review. AR at 1-7. The Appeals Counsel stated it
“looked at” the medical source statement from Dr.
Stinnett, but noted the ALJ decided Plaintiff's case
through February 27, 2015. Id. at 2. Therefore, the
Appeals Counsel held the statement from Dr. Stinnett did not
affect the ALJ's decision because it “is about a
later time.” Id.
September 18, 2016, Plaintiff filed the instant action
challenging the final decision of the Commissioner denying
her application for SSI. Dkt. 1, Compl. On April 17, 2017,
Plaintiff filed the instant Motion seeking to have the Court
remand the case to the ALJ for consideration of Dr.
Stinnett's statement. Dkt. 19. On June 21, 2017,
Defendant filed an Opposition. Dkt. 25. On June 30, 2017,
Plaintiff filed a Reply. The matter thus stands submitted.
FOR EVALUATING DISABILITY
qualify for SSI, 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). The impairment must render
the claimant incapable of performing the work she previously
performed and incapable of performing any other substantial
gainful employment that exists in the national economy.
Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir.
decide if a claimant is disabled, and therefore entitled to
benefits, an ALJ conducts a five-step inquiry. 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520, 416.920. The steps are:
1. Is the claimant presently engaged in substantial gainful
activity? If so, the claimant is found not disabled. If not,
proceed to step two.
2. Is the claimant's impairment severe? If not, the
claimant is found not disabled. If so, ...