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Blasquez-Tracy v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. California

August 31, 2017

CHERIE BLASQUEZ-TRACY, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER

          CAROLYN K. DELANEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying an application for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (“Act”). For the reasons discussed below, the court will grant plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and deny the Commissioner's cross-motion for summary judgment.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, born January 9, 1988, applied for SSI in September 2010, alleging disability beginning November 8, 2008. Administrative Transcript (“AT”) 74, 214. Plaintiff alleged she was unable to work due to bipolar disorder, mood disorder, attention deficit disorder, and depression. AT 757. An administrative law judge (“ALJ”) issued an unfavorable decision on July 20, 2012. AT 32-42. The Appeals Council declined review. AT 43-45. Plaintiff then filed an appeal to this court in case No. 2:13-cv-00570 CKD. After plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment, the parties stipulated to a remand for further proceedings. AT 60-61.

         On remand, a second ALJ held a hearing on August 18, 2014. AT 814-850. Plaintiff was represented by counsel, and the ALJ also heard testimony from Dr. Arnold Ostrow, an internist and pulmonologist, and Alina Sala, a vocational expert. AT 814-850. After the hearing, the ALJ obtained a consultative evaluation of plaintiff's mental health from clinical psychologist Dr. Sara Bowerman. AT 720-728. In a decision dated March 23, 2015, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled.[1] AT 13-29. The ALJ made the following findings (citations to 20 C.F.R. omitted):

1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on December 31, 2008.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since November 7, 2008, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: she can perform simple, routine, repetitive tasks with occasional decisionmaking, occasional workplace changes, and no fast paced production. She can occasionally interact with the public, coworkers and supervisors.
6. The claimant has no past relevant work.
7. The claimant was born on January 9, 1988 and was 20 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date.
8. The claimant has at least a high-school education and is able to communicate in English.
9. Transferability of job skills is not an issue in this case because the claimant does not have past relevant work.
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform.
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from November 7, 2008, through the date of this decision.

AT 16-29.

         ISSUES ...


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