United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HONORABLE KENLY KIYA KATO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Torey Eanes (“Plaintiff”) seeks review of the
final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (“Commissioner” or
“Agency”) denying his application for Title II
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”). The
parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned
United States Magistrate Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(c). For the reasons stated below, the Commissioner's
decision is REVERSED and this action is REMANDED for further
proceedings consistent with this Order.
August 13, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for DIB,
alleging a disability onset date of October 24, 2009.
Administrative Record (“AR”) at 155-59.
Plaintiff's application was denied initially on October
8, 2013 and upon reconsideration on February 28, 2014.
Id. at 68-92.
then requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”). Id. at 106. On April 4, 2016,
Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing
before the assigned ALJ. Id. at 34-67. A vocational
expert also testified at the hearing. Id. at 61-64.
On April 20, 2016, the ALJ issued a decision denying
Plaintiff's application for DIB. Id. at 15-27.
filed a request to the Agency's Appeals Council to review
the ALJ's decision. Id. at 151-54. On June 14,
2017, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review. Id. at 1-4.
August 11, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant action. ECF
Docket No. (“Dkt.”) 1, Compl. This matter is
before the Court on the Parties' Joint Stipulation
(“JS”), filed on May 3, 2018. Dkt. 20, JS.
was born on July 25, 1977, and his alleged disability onset
date is October 24, 2009. AR at 155. He was 32 years old on
the alleged disability onset date and 38 years old at the
time of the hearing before the ALJ. Id. at 68.
Plaintiff completed one year of college. Id. at 197.
Plaintiff alleges disability based on ankle, leg, thigh, and
shoulder injuries. Id. at 68, 81-82.
STANDARD FOR EVALUATING DISABILITY
qualify for benefits, a claimant must demonstrate a medically
determinable physical or mental impairment that prevents him
from engaging in substantial gainful activity, and that is
expected to result in death or to last for a continuous
period of at least twelve months. Reddick v. Chater,
157 F.3d 715, 721 (9th Cir. 1998). The impairment must render
the claimant incapable of performing the work he previously
performed and incapable of performing any other substantial
gainful employment that exists in the national economy.
Tackett v. Apfel, 180 F.3d 1094, 1098 (9th Cir.
decide if a claimant is disabled, and therefore entitled to
benefits, an ALJ conducts a five-step inquiry. 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520, 416.920. The steps are:
1. Is the claimant presently engaged in substantial gainful
activity? If so, the claimant is found not disabled. If not,
proceed to step two.
2. Is the claimant's impairment severe? If not, the
claimant is found not disabled. If so, proceed to step three.
3. Does the claimant's impairment meet or equal one of
the specific impairments described in 20 C.F.R. Part 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 1? If so, the claimant is found disabled.
If not, proceed to step four.
4. Is the claimant capable of performing work he has done in
the past? If so, the claimant is found not disabled. If not,
proceed to step five.
5. Is the claimant able to do any other work? If not, the
claimant is found disabled. If so, the claimant is found not
See Tackett, 180 F.3d at 1098-99; see also
Bustamante v. Massanari, 262 F.3d 949, 953-54 (9th Cir.
2001); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(b)-(g)(1),
claimant has the burden of proof at steps one through four,
and the Commissioner has the burden of proof at step five.
Bustamante, 262 F.3d at 953-54. Additionally, the
ALJ has an affirmative duty to assist the claimant in
developing the record at every step of the inquiry.
Id. at 954. If, at step four, the claimant meets his
burden of establishing an inability to perform past work, the
Commissioner must show that the claimant can perform some
other work that exists in “significant numbers”
in the national economy, taking into account the
claimant's residual functional capacity