United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF REMAND
CHARLES F. EICK, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. section 405(g), IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED that this matter is remanded for further
administrative action consistent with this Opinion.
filed a Complaint on May 25, 2017, seeking review of the
Commissioner's denial of disability benefits. The parties
filed a consent to proceed before a United States Magistrate
Judge. See Statements of Consent, filed June 19,
2017 and July 21, 2017.
March 6, 2018, the parties filed a "Joint
Stipulation." On April 25, 2018, this case was
reassigned to Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick.
a former home care provider and customer service
representative, asserts disability since June 1, 2012, based
on, inter alia, alleged fibromyalgia (Administrative
Record ("A.R.") 30-43, 192, 207, 314-15, 684-85). A
treating physician diagnosed fibromyalgia after finding 14 of
18 "trigger points" (A.R. 684-85). Plaintiff
testified to pain, fatigue and other symptomatology of
allegedly disabling severity (A.R. 76-77, 96-97).
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") denied
Plaintiff's claim (A.R. 30-45). In doing so, the ALJ
found that Plaintiff's alleged fibromyalgia is "not
a medically determinable impairment" (A.R. 35). The ALJ
discounted the credibility of Plaintiff's subjective
allegations based on, among other things, an asserted lack of
objective evidence to substantiate those allegations (A.R.
42). The Appeals Council denied review (A.R. 1-4).
42 U.S.C section 405(g), this Court reviews the
Administration's decision to determine if: (1) the
Administration's findings are supported by substantial
evidence; and (2) the Administration used correct legal
standards. See Carmickle v. Commissioner, 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)
(citation and quotations omitted); see Widmark v.
Barnhart, 454 F.3d 1063, 1067 (9th Cir. 2006).
evidence can support either outcome, the court may not
substitute its judgment for that of the ALJ. But the
Commissioner's decision cannot be affirmed simply by
isolating a specific quantum of supporting evidence. Rather,
a court must consider the record as a whole, weighing both
evidence that supports and detracts from the [administrative]
evidence fails to support the ALJ's finding that
Plaintiff's alleged fibromyalgia is not a medically
determinable impairment. The ALJ stated that "there is
an absence of clinical evidence satisfying the criteria of
[Social Security Ruling] 12-2 for the establishment of
fibromyalgia" (A.R. 35). As Plaintiff points out, the
clinical evidence of record refutes this statement.
See Joint Stipulation at 5-8; A.R. 684-85; see
also Buell v. Berryhill, 716 Fed.Appx. 600, 601-02 (9th
Cir. 2017); Allen v. Colvin, 2016 WL 7368128, at *3
(W.D. Wash. Jan. 8, 2016), adopted, 2016 WL 7368129
(W.D. Wash. Feb. 8, 2016).
contentions regarding this issue as set forth in the Joint
Stipulation do not attempt to defend the ALJ's failure to
find Plaintiff's alleged fibromyalgia to be a medically
determinable impairment (Joint Stipulation at 8-9). Rather,
Defendant contends that any error in this regard was harmless
because the ALJ found other alleged impairments to be severe
(id.). Defendant appears to argue that the ALJ
necessarily considered the effects of Plaintiff's alleged
fibromyalgia when defining Plaintiff's residual
functional capacity, despite having found the alleged