United States District Court, E.D. California
DEBORAH BARNES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
social security action was submitted to the court without
oral argument for ruling on plaintiff's motion for
summary judgment and defendant's cross-motion for summary
judgment.Plaintiff's motion argues that the
Administrative Law Judge's treatment of the medical
opinion evidence and failure to develop the administrative
record constituted error. For the reasons explained below,
plaintiff's motion is denied, defendant's
cross-motion is granted, and the decision of the Commissioner
of Social Security (“Commissioner”) is affirmed.
April of 2013, plaintiff filed applications for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the
Social Security Act (“the Act”) and for
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title
XVI of the Act. (Transcript (“Tr.”) at 17,
174-85.) Plaintiff's applications were denied initially,
(id. at 104-111), and upon reconsideration.
(Id. at 17, 115-19, 121-25.)
plaintiff requested a hearing which was held before an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on April 7,
2015. (Id. at 34-62.) Plaintiff was represented by
an attorney and testified at the administrative hearing.
(Id. at 34-35.) At the April 7, 2015 administrative
hearing plaintiff amended the alleged onset date to April 18,
2013, resulting in the dismissal of plaintiff's claim for
DIB. (Id. at 17, 36-37.)
decision issued on June 26, 2015, the ALJ found that
plaintiff was not disabled. (Id. at 28.) The ALJ
entered the following findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through June 30, 2005.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since April 18, 2013, the amended onset date (20 CFR
416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: chronic
back pain syndrome, displacement of thoracic or lumbar
intervertebral disc without myelopathy, lumber spondylosis
without myelopathy, and mild thoracic scoliosis (20 CFR
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 416.967(b) except no climbing ladders/ropes/scaffolds.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work
(20 CFR 416.965).
7. The claimant was born on May 5, 1983 and was 29 years old,
which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the
alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 416.963).
8. The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the
determination of disability because using the
Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding
that the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or
not the claimant has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41
and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
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 (20 CFR 416.969, and
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from April 18, 2013, through the
date of this decision (20 CFR 416.920(g)).
(Id. at 19-28.)
September 15, 2016, the Appeals Council denied
plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's June 26,
2015 decision. (Id. at 1-4.) Plaintiff sought
judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) by filing
the complaint in this action on September 28, 2016. (ECF No.
district court reviews the Commissioner's final decision
for substantial evidence, and the Commissioner's decision
will be disturbed only if it is not supported by substantial
evidence or is based on legal error.” Hill v.
Astrue, 698 F.3d 1153, 1158-59 (9th Cir. 2012).
Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a