United States District Court, E.D. California
ALLEN M. QUIGLEY, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
CAROLYN K. DELANEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner
of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying an
application for Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security
Act (“Act”). The parties have consented to
Magistrate Judge jurisdiction to conduct all proceedings in
the case, including the entry of final judgment. For the
reasons discussed below, the court will grant plaintiff's
motion for summary judgment and deny the Commissioner's
cross-motion for summary judgment.
born in 1968, applied on July 16, 2014 for Social Security
Disability Insurance Benefits, alleging disability beginning
June 5, 2012. Administrative Transcript (“AT”)
22, 182. Plaintiff alleged he was unable to work due to back
injury, right hip injury, severe depression, and traumatic
brain injury. AT 112. In a decision dated January 12, 2017,
the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not
disabled. AT 22-41. The ALJ made the following
findings (citations to 20 C.F.R. omitted):
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2017.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since July 5, 2012, the application date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine; degenerative
joint disease of the right hip; degenerative joint disease of
the right knee; history of traumatic brain injury (TBI);
migraines; tinnitus; and mental impairments variously
described as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed
impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform all work-related activities,
except: he is able to lift and carry ten pounds frequently
and twenty pounds occasionally; he is able to sit for about
six hours of an eight hour workday; he is able to stand
and/or walk for about six hours of an eight hour workday; he
is precluded from climbing ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; he
is precluded from exposure to hazards (unprotected heights,
hazardous machinery, dangerous equipment, and so forth); he
is limited to occasional climbing of ramps and stairs; he is
limited to occasional stooping, kneeling, crouching, and
crawling; he should avoid concentrated exposure to extreme
cold; he is able to perform simple, repetitive tasks; he is
limited to no more than occasional interaction with
supervisors, coworkers, and the public.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was born on XX/XX/1968 and was 43 years old,
which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the
date the application was filed.
8. The claimant has at least a high-school education and is
able to communicate in English.
9. Transferability of job skills is not an issue in this case
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
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.
argues that the ALJ committed the following errors in finding
plaintiff not disabled: (1) the ALJ improperly rejected the
opinion of examining neurologist Dr. Chao; (2) the ALJ
improperly rejected plaintiff's testimony; (3) the ALJ
improperly rejected lay witness testimony; and (4) the
ALJ's Step Five finding is not supported by substantial