United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. STANDISH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
filed a complaint against the Commissioner of the Social
Security Administration (“Commissioner” or
“Defendant”) seeking review of the
Commissioner's denial of Plaintiff's applications for
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). The parties
filed consents to proceed before the undersigned United
States Magistrate Judge [Dkts. 12, 13] and briefs addressing
the disputed issues in the case [Dkt. 23 (“Pltf.'s
Br.”), Dkt. 30 (“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
ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION UNDER REVIEW
January 24, 2013 and February 28, 2013, Plaintiff filed
applications for DIB and SSI, alleging that she became
disabled as of October 29, 2012. [Dkt. 13, Administrative
Record (“AR”) 83-83, 145-149.] The Commissioner
denied her claim initially on July 19, 2013. [AR 62-71,
72-81.] On December 21, 2014, a hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Edward P.
Schneeberger. [AR 32-61.] On April 29, 2015, the ALJ issued a
decision denying Plaintiff's claims. [AR 18-31.]
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 met the insured status
requirements through December 31, 2016 and has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since October 29, 2012, the
alleged onset date. [AR 23-24.] At step two, the ALJ found
that Plaintiff suffered from the severe impairments of
fibromyalgia and obesity. [AR 24 (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 25-26 (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
Full range of medium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c)
and 416.967(c) in that claimant is limited to lift/carry 50
pounds occasionally and 25 pounds frequently. She is further
limited to standing/walking 6 hours and sitting for 6 hours
in an 8-hour day.
[AR 24-27.] Applying this RFC, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff is able to perform past relevant work as a medical
biller coder and data entry operator and, thus, is not
disabled. [AR 27.]
requested review of the ALJ's decision, and on December
13, 2016, the Appeals Council denied review. [AR 1-7.] This
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.
physicians rendered opinions about Plaintiff's mental
limitations. A non-examining state agency consultant, Dr.
Richard J. Milan, Jr., Ph.D., rendered his opinion in July
2013. [AR 62-66.] Subsequently, at the hearing, the ALJ
ordered that a consultative psychologist evaluate Plaintiff.
[AR 56.] On January 16, 2015, Dr. Rosa Colonna, Ph.D., a
consultative examiner retained by the state agency, examined
Plaintiff and prepared a report with her opinion. [AR
392-404.] Plaintiff's sole contention is that the ...