United States District Court, C.D. California, Eastern Division
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 and Supplemental Security Income.
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
issued on August 15, 2016 and an extension granted by the
Court, on May 25, 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
December 28, 2012, plaintiff applied for Disability Insurance
Benefits and Supplemental Security Income, alleging an onset
date of July 15, 2009. (AR 176-88.) Plaintiff's
applications were denied initially and on reconsideration.
(AR 56-116.) Thereafter, plaintiff requested a hearing before
an administrative law judge (“ALJ”). (AR 138.)
ALJ Dante M. Alegre held a hearing on December 3, 2014. (AR
36-55.) Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at the
hearing. (See id.) Furthermore, Gregory Jones, a
vocational expert (“VE”), testified at the
hearing. (AR 49-53.)
February 27, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision denying
plaintiff benefits. (AR 14-35.) Based on his review of the
evidence, the ALJ determined that plaintiff has the
“following severe impairments: diabetes mellitus type
II, peripheral neuropathy, degenerative joint disease of the
right shoulder, mild lumbar osteoarthritis, minimal
osteoarthritis of the left knee, obesity, major depressive
disorder, and bipolar disorder.” (AR 20.) Further, the
ALJ found that plaintiff possesses the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform “light
work” except that plaintiff can:
lift 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, and can
sit, stand, or walk six hours each out of an eight-hour
workday. He can occasionally push and pull with the right
upper extremity. He an [sic] occasionally climb, balance,
stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. He can occasionally reach
overhead with the right upper extremity. He can perform
unskilled, nonpublic work.
making these determinations, the ALJ discredited
plaintiff's claims about the limitations caused by his
impairments. (AR 28.) The ALJ gave great weight to the state
agency medical and psychiatric consultants and gave little
weight to the opinions of plaintiff's treating physician
Dr. Arthur Jimenez, M.D., and the GAF scores. (AR 27-28.)
Based on plaintiff's RFC and the testimony of the VE, the
ALJ determined that plaintiff is unable to perform any past
relevant work, but there are jobs that exist in significant
numbers in the national economy that plaintiff can perform.
(AR 28-29.) Accordingly, the ALJ concluded that plaintiff has
not been under a disability within the meaning of the Social
Security Act from the alleged onset date of July 15, 2009
through the date of the decision. (AR 30.)
29, 2016, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request
for review. (AR 1-9.) Thereafter, plaintiff filed this
raises two issues in this action:
1. Whether the ALJ provided clear and convincing reasons to
reject the opinion of the treating doctor.
2. Whether the ALJ failed to include all of the relevant
mental limitations in the residual functional capacity.
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 ...