United States District Court, C.D. California
ROBIN C. KING, Plaintiff
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. STANDISH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Robin C. King (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint
seeking review of the decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security denying her 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.
7 and 14] and briefs addressing disputed issues in the case
[Dkt. 17 (“Pl. Br.”), Dkt. 18 (“Def.
Br.”), and Dkt. 19 (Pl. Rep.)]. 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 additional proceedings.
ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION UNDER REVIEW
January 2013, Plaintiff filed applications for DIB and SSI,
alleging disability as of March 6, 2012. [Dkt. 16,
Administrative Record (“AR”) 20, 279-94.]
Plaintiff's applications were denied at the initial level
of review and on reconsideration. [AR 20, 169-71, 180-85.]
Hearings were held before Administrative Law Judge John W.
Wojciechowski (“the ALJ”) on September 28, 2015,
and February 1, 2016. [AR 42-87.] On March 23, 2016, the ALJ
issued an unfavorable decision. [AR 20-32.]
applied the five-step sequential evaluation process to find
Plaintiff not disabled. See 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(b)-(g)(1), 416.920(b)-(g)(1). At step one, the ALJ
found that Plaintiff had worked after her alleged disability
onset date, but the work activity did not constitute
disqualifying substantial gainful activity. [AR 22, 29.] At
step two, the ALJ found that Plaintiff suffered from the
severe impairments of post-concussive syndrome, status post
traumatic brain injury, depressive disorder, anxiety
disorder, seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, and cervical
degenerative disc disease. [AR 23.] At step three, 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 impairments listed in Appendix I of
the Regulations, (“the Listings”).
[Id.]; see 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt. P,
App. 1. Next, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the residual
functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform the
occasionally lift and/or carry 20 pounds; frequently lift
and/or carry 10 pounds; stand and/or walk for 6 hours in an
8-hour workday; sit for 6 hours in an 8-hour workday;
frequently climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crawl, and crouch;
never use ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; avoid even moderate
exposure to industrial workplace hazards; frequently handle
and reach with the bilateral upper extremities; and limited
to simple repetitive tasks, no public contact, and only
occasional contact with coworkers and supervisors.
[AR 25.] At step four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was
unable to perform her past relevant work. [AR 31.] At step
five, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff could perform jobs
existing in significant numbers in the national economy,
including representative occupations such as assembler and
hand packager, based on Plaintiff's RFC, age (46 years
old on alleged onset date), education, and work experience.
Appeals Council denied review of the ALJ's decision on
April 13, 2017. [AR 1-7.] This action followed.
raises the following issues challenging the ALJ's
findings and determination of non-disability:
1. The ALJ failed to adequately assess Plaintiff's
testimony regarding her pain and limitations.
2. The ALJ failed to properly consider Plaintiff's
3. The ALJ failed to properly consider the opinion of
Plaintiff's psychiatrist. [Pl. Br. at 1-10; Pl. Rep. at
requests reversal and remand for payment of benefits or, in
the alternative, remand for further administrative