United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
SAGAR UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
30, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint seeking review of the
denial of his application for 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 October 17, 2017, Defendant
filed an Answer along with the Administrative Record
(“AR”). (Docket Entry Nos. 16-17). The parties
filed a Joint Submission (“Joint Stip.”) on
February 20, 2018, setting forth their respective positions
regarding Plaintiff's claims. (Docket Entry No. 20).
Court has taken this matter under submission without oral
argument. See C.D. Cal. L.R. 7-15.
AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
August 3, 2010, Plaintiff, formerly employed as a tester for
a manufacturing company and a deliverer for a phone book
company (see AR 57-58, 172, 179-81), filed an
application for Supplemental Security Income, alleging a
disability since October 31, 2005. (AR 148-54).
October 26, 2011 and May 7, 2012, the Administrative Law
Judge, Lawrence I. Duran (“ALJ Duran”), heard
testimony from Plaintiff (who was not represented by
counsel), Plaintiff's mother, and vocational experts
Roxanne Minkus and Corinne Porter. (See AR 31-44,
47-83). On May 17, 2012, ALJ Duran issued a decision denying
Plaintiff's application. (See AR 13-24). After
determining that Plaintiff had severe impairments
--“left ilionguinal nerve block; status post inguinal
hernia repair; nystagmus; visual acuity 20/200 in left eye;
astigmatism; emmetropia; asthma; left groin pain; depressive
disorder; and anxiety” (AR 15-16)-- but did not
have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled the severity of one of the listed
impairments (AR 16-18), ALJ Duran found that Plaintiff had
the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform heavy work with the
can lift and/or carry 50 pounds frequently and 100 pounds
occasionally; can stand and/or walk for 6 hours out of an
8hour workday with regular breaks; can sit for 6 hours out of
an 8-hour workday with regular breaks; unlimited pushing
and/or pulling; can climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch,
crawl, reach, handle and finger frequently; must avoid
concentrated exposure to extreme heat, cold, dust, odors,
fumes and pulmonary irritants; can perform simple work; can
interact with co-workers, supervisors and the general public
occasionally; cannot perform work that requires good visual
acuity; and needs letter to be 1 inch in size, close up.
Duran then determined that Plaintiff was not able to perform
any past relevant work (AR 23), but that jobs existed in
significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff
can perform, and therefore found that Plaintiff was not
disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. (AR
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of
ALJ Duran's decision on August 22, 2013. (See AR
filed an action in this Court seeking review of ALJ
Duran's decision. On May 29, 2015, the Court issued an
Order and Judgment remanding the matter to the Commissioner
based on ALJ Duran's failure to fully develop the record
with respect to medical records from treating sources.
(See AR 416-25; see also AR 431-35 [July
23, 2015 Appeals Council Order vacating ALJ Duran's
decision and remanding case to administrative law judge]).
25, 2016 and December 5, 2016 (on remand), another
Administrative Law Judge (“the ALJ”), Mason
Harrell, Jr., heard testimony from Plaintiff (who was
represented by counsel), medical experts Wayne Kidder and Dr.
Glassmeyer, and vocational experts Gregory Jones and Troy
Scott. (See AR 333-57, 360-96). On February 6, 2017,
the ALJ issued a decision denying Plaintiff's
application. (See AR 312-23). After determining that
Plaintiff had severe impairments -- “seizure disorder;
history of left inguinal hernia repari; congenital nystagmus;
history of pulmonary embolism; valvular heart disease; mild
degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine with lower back
pain; alcohol abuse; major depressive disorder; posttraumaic
stress disorder (PTSD); and borderline intellectual
functioning” (AR 314) -- but did not have an impairment
or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled
the severity of one of the listed impairments (AR 314-16),
the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the RFC to perform medium
with the following limitations:
can lift, push or pull 25 pounds frequently and 50 pounds
occasionally; can sit, stand or walk for 6 hours out of an
8hour workday; can climb ramps and stairs frequently; cannot
climb ropes, scaffolds or ladders; can balance occasionally;
can stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl frequently; cannot read
fine print (smaller than 1/8 of an inch); cannot perform jobs
where distant vision is critical; must avoid exposure to
fumes or gases; can be exposed to “no more air
pollutants than found in an air-conditioned
environment”; must avoid dangerous machinery or working
at heights; limited to non-complex and routine tasks; cannot
have interactions with the public; can perform tasks
requiring teamwork only occasionally; and might miss work
once per month.
then determined that Plaintiff did not have any past relevant
work (AR 321), but that jobs existed in significant numbers
in the national economy that Plaintiff can perform, and
therefore found that Plaintiff was not disabled within the
meaning of the Social Security Act. (AR 321-23).
ALJ's decision then became the final decision of the
Commissioner, allowing this Court to review the
decision. See 42 U.S.C. §§
405(g), 1383(c); 20 U.S.C. § 416.1484(d).