United States District Court, C.D. California, Western Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
SAGAR, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
to Sentence 4 of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED that this matter be remanded for further
administrative action consistent with this Opinion.
January 12, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint seeking review
of the denial of her applications for Disability Insurance
Benefits and Supplemental Security Income. (Docket Entry No.
1). The parties have consented to proceed before the
undersigned United States Magistrate Judge. (Docket Entry
Nos. 11-12). On January 3, 2017, Defendant filed an Answer
along with the Administrative Record (“AR”).
(Docket Entry Nos. 17-18). The parties filed a Joint
Stipulation (“Joint Stip.”) on January 18, 2018,
setting forth their respective positions regarding
Plaintiff's claims. (Docket Entry No. 36).
Court has taken this matter under submission without oral
argument. See C.D. Cal. L.R. 7-15.
AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
31, 2013, Plaintiff, formerly employed in dental offices
(see AR 259-60, 437-39), filed applications for
Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security
Income, both alleging a disability since June 27, 2012.
(See AR 368-77). The Commissioner denied
Plaintiff's applications initially and on
reconsideration. (AR 297, 308). On November 10, 2014, the
Administrative Law Judge [“ALJ”], James Moser,
heard testimony from Plaintiff (represented by counsel),
medical expert Harvey Alpern, and vocational expert Sandra
Trost. (See AR 257-75).
December 5, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision denying
Plaintiff's applications. (See AR 229-35).
Applying the five-step sequential process, the ALJ found at
step one that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since June 27, 2012, the alleged onset date.
(AR 231). At step two, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had a
severe impairment -- seizure disorder (AR 231). At step three,
the ALJ determined that Plaintiff did not have an impairment
or combination of impairments that meet or medically equal
the severity of any of the listings enumerated in the
regulations. (AR 232-33). A The ALJ then assessed
Plaintiff's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) and concluded that she could perform a
narrowed range of light work with the following limitations:
can lift and/or carry up to 10 pounds frequently and up to 20
pounds occasionally; can stand and/or walk for 6 hours out of
an 8-hour workday; can sit for 6 hours out of 8hour workday;
can occasionally do postural activities; cannot climb ropes,
ladders, or scaffolds; cannot work at unprotected heights or
near dangerous equipment; and must avoid concentrated
exposure to pulmonary irritants. (AR 233-35).
four, the ALJ, relying on the vocational expert's hearing
testimony, found that Plaintiff was capable of performing her
past relevant work as a medical receptionist as that job was
generally performed. (AR 235). The ALJ therefore concluded
that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the
Social Security Act. (AR 235).
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on
May 20, 2016. (See AR 3-8, 205-06). Plaintiff now
seeks judicial review of the ALJ's decision which stands
as the final decision of the Commissioner. See 42
U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c).
Court reviews the Administration's decision to determine
if it is free of legal error and supported by substantial
evidence. See Brewes v. Comm'r, 682 F.3d 1157,
1161 (9th Cir. 2012). “Substantial evidence” is
more than a mere scintilla, but less than a preponderance.
Garrison v. Colvin, 759 F.3d 995, 1009 (9th Cir.
2014). 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.”
Aukland v. Massanari, 257 F.3d 1033, 1035 (9th Cir.
2001) (internal quotation omitted). As a result, “[i]f
the evidence can support either affirming or reversing the
ALJ's conclusion, [a court] may not substitute [its]
judgment for that of the ALJ.” Robbins v. Soc. Sec.
Admin., 466 F.3d 880, 882 (9th Cir. 2006).
alleges that the ALJ erred in finding that: (1) Plaintiff did
not meet Listed Impairment 11.02(A); (2) Plaintiff could
perform her past relevant work as generally performed; (3)
Plaintiff could perform her past relevant work, based on her
seizures; and (4) Plaintiff could perform her past relevant
work, based on her ...