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 disability
insurance 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
August 22, 2016, Case Management Order, on May 8, 2017, the
parties filed a Joint Stipulation (“JS”)
detailing each party's arguments and authorities. The
Court has reviewed the administrative record (the
“AR”), filed on January 17, 2017, and the Joint
Stipulation. For the reasons stated below, the decision of
the Commissioner is reversed and this matter is remanded for
about June 14, 2013, plaintiff applied for disability
insurance benefits, alleging disability as of January 1,
2008. After his application was denied initially and on
reconsideration, plaintiff requested a hearing before an
administrative law judge (“ALJ”). On December 18,
2014, ALJ Christine Long held a hearing. (AR 28-54.)
Plaintiff was present with counsel and testified at the
March 3, 2015, the ALJ denied plaintiff benefits in a written
decision. (AR 12-27.) Therein, the ALJ reported that in 2003
plaintiff had been involved in a boating accident that
resulted in the amputation of his left leg below the knee,
for which plaintiff received a prosthesis. Additionally, the
ALJ accurately noted that the record in this case contains
virtually no medical records documenting the treatment
plaintiff presumably received for his leg injury. Based on
her review of the scant evidence in the record, the ALJ
determined that plaintiff possesses the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform “light
work” subject to numerous accompanying limitations. (AR
20.) In determining plaintiff's RFC, the ALJ assigned
little weight to certain opinions of Dr. Ibrahim Yashruti, an
examining physician and the only physician to render an
opinion about plaintiff's physical limitations. (AR 21.)
Ultimately, the ALJ found that plaintiff is able to perform
his past relevant work and, therefore, is not disabled.
13, 2016, the Appeals Council denied review of the ALJ's
decision. Thereafter, plaintiff initiated this action.
raises the following contention in this action:
Whether the ALJ failed to properly consider the opinions of
Dr. Ibrahim Yashruti, an examining physician.
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 standard was not applied. Howard ex rel.
Wolff v. Barnhart, 341 F.3d 1006, 1014-15 (9th Cir.
2003); see also Smolen, 80 F.3d at 1279.
was examined by Dr. Yashruti on September 30, 2013. (AR
333-36.) Based on the examination, Dr. Yashruti concluded,
among other things, that plaintiff can stand or walk for only
two hours each work-day and can not kneel, crouch, or crawl.
(AR 336.) In her decision ...