United States District Court, E.D. California
DEBORAH BARNES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
social security action was submitted to the court without
oral argument for ruling on plaintiff's motion for
summary judgment and defendant's cross-motion for summary
judgment.Plaintiff argues that the ALJ's
treatment of the medical opinion evidence constituted error.
For the reasons explained below, plaintiff's motion is
granted, the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”) is reversed, and the matter is
remanded for further proceedings.
February 22, 2016, plaintiff filed an application for
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title
XVI of the Social Security Act (“the Act”)
alleging disability beginning on January 1,
2014. (Transcript (“Tr.”) at 23,
261-76.) Plaintiff's alleged impairments included COPD
and depression. (Id. at 264.) Plaintiff's
application was denied initially, (id. at 159-63),
and upon reconsideration. (Id. at 171-77.)
plaintiff requested a hearing which was held before an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on November 9,
2017. (Id. at 42-87.) Plaintiff was represented by
an attorney and testified at the administrative hearing.
(Id. at 42-45.) In a decision issued on January 12,
2018, the ALJ found that plaintiff was not disabled.
(Id. at 35.) The ALJ entered the following findings:
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since February 1, 2017, the amended alleged onset
date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: asthma,
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression (20
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform less than light work as light
work is defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b). She can lift, carry,
push, and pull occasionally 20 pounds and frequently 10
pounds. She can sit for 6 hours in an 8-hour workday. She can
stand and walk for 6 hours of an 8-hour workday. She cannot
climb ropes, ladders or scaffolds. She can occasionally crawl
and stoop. She can perform frequent gross and fine
manipulation. She is able to understand and carry out simple
job instructions. She is able to occasionally understand and
carry out detailed job instructions. She is capable of
frequently adjusting to simple changes in the work place. She
is able to make workplace judgments. She has no other
5. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).
6. The claimant was born [in] 1967 and was an individual
closely approaching advanced age, as of the amended onset
date (20 CFR 416.963).
7. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).
8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the
claimant does not have past relevant work (20 CFR 416.968).
9. 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 (20 CFR 416.969 and
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, since February 22, 2016, the date
the application was filed (20 CFR 416.920(g)).
(Id. at 26-35.)
March 14, 2018, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's
request for review of the ALJ's January 12, 2018
decision. (Id. at 1-3.) Plaintiff sought
judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) by filing
the complaint in this action on May 14, 2018. (ECF No. 1.)