United States District Court, C.D. California, Western Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DOUGLAS F. MCCORMICK UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
R. (“Plaintiff) appeals from the Social Security
Commissioner's final decision denying his application for
Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”). The Commissioner's decision is
affirmed and this case is dismissed with prejudice.
November 25, 2013, Plaintiff applied for DIB, alleging
disability beginning February 8, 2013. See
Administrative Record (“AR”) 180-82. After being
denied initially and on reconsideration, Plaintiff requested
a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”). See AR 25. Plaintiff appeared
and testified at a hearing held on May 17, 2016. See
AR 43-79. On August 19, 2016, the ALJ issued a written
decision finding Plaintiff ineligible for disability
benefits. See AR 19-42.
found that Plaintiff had the severe impairments of paroxysmal
atrial fibrillation with pacemaker implantation; cervical
facet syndrome with multi-level protrusions and annular tear;
lumbar spondylosis with multi-level protrusions, radiculitis
and facet syndrome; hypertension; obesity; major depressive
disorder; general anxiety disorder; agoraphobia with panic
disorder; and adjustment disorder. See AR 27. The
ALJ found that Plaintiff retained the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work with the
He can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, but never climb
ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. He can occasionally balance,
stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. He should avoid working
around unprotected heavy machinery or unprotected heights. He
can understand, remember, and carry out simple job
instructions. He can maintain attention and concentration to
perform simple, routine, and repetitive tasks. He can have
occasional interaction with coworkers and supervisors, and no
direct interaction with the general public. He can work in an
environment with occasional changes to the work setting and
occasional work-related decision making.
AR 30. The ALJ determined that Plaintiff could perform
several jobs at the light, unskilled level: garment sorter,
assembler, and electronics worker. See AR 36.
Consequently, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was not
disabled under the Social Security Act. See AR 37.
Appeals Council denied review of the ALJ's decision,
which became the final decision of the Commissioner.
See AR 1-8. This action followed. See Dkt.
argues that the ALJ: (1) improperly discounted or disregarded
evidence of Plaintiffs spinal, cardiac, and mental
impairments, (2) improperly discounted his subjective symptom
testimony, and (3) failed to credit testimony from Plaintiffs
wife. See Dkt. 24, Joint Stipulation (“
Evidence of Plaintiffs Impairments
gave “little weight” to the opinions of Plaintiff
s treating physicians, Dr. David Shawa and Dr. Adam Wietzman.
See AR 33-34. The ALJ reasoned that their
assessments were not consistent with their own treatment
notes. See AR 33. The ALJ also noted that their
assessments were made in the workers' compensation
context and thus may not be impartial, and also consisted of
opinions about whether Plaintiff was disabled, a matter
reserved for the Commissioner. See AR 34.
as here, a treating physician's opinion is contradicted
by another doctor, an ALJ may reject it for “specific
and legitimate reasons that are supported by substantial
evidence in the record.” Carmickle v. Comm'r,
SSA, 533 F.3d 1155, 1164 (9th Cir. 2008). An ALJ
“need not accept the opinion of any physician,
including a treating physician, if that opinion is brief,
conclusory, and ...