United States District Court, E.D. California
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 1982, applied on January 4, 2012 for SSI and
disability insurance benefits, alleging disability beginning
July 30, 2007. Administrative Transcript (“AT”)
21, 28. Plaintiff alleged he was unable to work due to
seizures, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, epilepsy, and
psychosis. AT 79. In a decision dated September 4, 2013, the
ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled. AT 21-30.
sought review of the final decision with the United States
District Court, and on March 9, 2017, Magistrate Judge
Deborah Barnes granted plaintiff's motion for summary
judgment and remanded the matter to the Commissioner. AT
636-643. Specifically, Judge Barnes found that the ALJ, while
claiming to assign the 2012 opinion of Dr. T. Renfro
considerable weight, failed to include in the RFC Dr.
Renfro's finding that plaintiff had moderate limitations
in his ability to interact with coworkers. AT 640. While the
RFC limited plaintiff to no public contact, it had no
limitation on coworker interactions. AT 637. Judge Barnes
further found that the ALJ's error was not harmless, as
the vocational expert (VE) testified that someone with
plaintiff's RFC who was unable to interact with coworkers
or supervisors would be unable to perform any jobs. AT 641.
remand and a hearing on November 30, 2017, the ALJ made the
following findings in the decision at issue in this matter
(citations to 20 C.F.R. omitted):
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through March 31, 2010.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since July 30, 2007, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: history
of seizures and mood disorder.
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 a full range of work at all
exertional levels but with the following nonexertional
limitations: the claimant could perform unskilled work. The
claimant could understand, remember, and apply simple
instructions. The claimant could maintain concentration for
simple tasks. The claimant could never interact with the
public. The claimant could occasionally interact with
coworkers. The claimant could never participate in teamwork
assignments. The claimant could never climb ladders, ropes,
and scaffolds. The claimant could never work at heights or
around dangerous machinery. The claimant could frequently
climb ramps and stairs. The claimant could frequently crouch.
6. The claimant has no past relevant work.
7. The claimant was born on XX/XX 1982, which is defined as a
younger individual age 18-49 on the alleged disability onset
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 the claimant does not have past relevant work.
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.
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from July 30, 2007, through the
date of this decision.