United States District Court, C.D. California, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DOUGLAS F. MCCORMICK, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
D. (“Plaintiff) appeals from the Social Security
Commissioner's final decision denying her application for
Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”). The Commissioner's decision is
affirmed and this case is dismissed with prejudice.
filed an application for SSI on February 6, 2015, alleging
disability beginning on October 1, 2008. See Dkt.
16, Administrative Record (“AR”) 489-98. After
being denied initially and on reconsideration, Plaintiff
requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”). See AR 423-48. A hearing was
held on May 16, 2017, at which Plaintiff and an impartial
vocational expert testified. See AR 340-64. On June
9, 2017, the ALJ issued a written decision finding Plaintiff
ineligible for disability benefits. See AR 30-46.
found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since her application date. See AR 35. The
ALJ next found that Plaintiff had the severe impairments of
degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis of the right
shoulder. See id The ALJ determined that Plaintiff
had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to
perform light work, except that she could only occasionally
reach overhead bilaterally and climb, and frequently balance,
stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. See AR 36-40. The
ALJ accordingly found that Plaintiff could perform her past
relevant work as a hairstylist (listed as cosmetologist, DOT
332.271-010) both as generally and actually performed.
See AR 40-41. In the alternative, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff could perform jobs existing in the national
economy, including cleaner (DOT 323.687-014), cashier II (DOT
211.462-010), and furniture rental clerk (DOT 295.357-018).
See AR 41-42. Consequently, the ALJ concluded that
Plaintiff was not disabled. See AR 42.
Appeals Council denied review of the ALJ's decision,
which became the final decision of the Commissioner.
See AR 1-7. This action followed. See Dkt.
determined that Plaintiff had the RFC to perform light work
but could only occasionally reach overhead bilaterally and
climb, and frequently balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and
crawl. See AR 37. Two State agency physicians-Drs.
John Godes and L. C. Chiang-opined that Plaintiff could
stand, walk, or sit for 6 hours in an 8-hour workday, and
could only occasionally push and pull. See AR
contends the ALJ erred by not including the standing/walking
and pushing/pulling limitations in the RFC. The Court
disagrees. These limitations fall within the light work
exertional category. Social Security Regulation
(“SSR”) 83-10 provides, “a job is in [the
light work] category when it requires a good deal of walking
or standing, ” with “the full range of light
work” requiring “standing or walking, off and on,
for a total of approximately 6 hours of an 8-hour
workday.” “A job is also in [the light work]
category when it involves sitting most of the time but with
some pushing and pulling of arm-hand or leg-foot
controls.” Id. Relying on SSR 83-10, courts
have generally found that Plaintiff's limitations are
consistent with a designation of light work. See Rakowski
v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., No. 16-00588, 2017 WL
3334010, at *11 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 4, 2017) (collecting cases
finding that light work is consistent with 6-hour
standing/walking limitation); Rocha v. Colvin, No.
12-0336, 2013 WL 1858602, at *4 (E.D. Wash. May 2, 2013)
(finding light work consistent with “occasional pushing
and pulling” limitation).
event, the Court would find that any error was harmless.
See Tommasetti v. Astrue, 533 F.3d 1035, 1038 (9th
Cir. 2008) (holding that an error is harmless when it is
“inconsequential to the ultimate nondisability
determination”). As noted above, both Drs. Godes and
Chiang opined that Plaintiff was limited to 6 hours of
standing and walking and occasional pushing and pulling. The
ALJ gave “great weight” to Dr. Chiang's
opinion that Plaintiff “could perform a limited range
of light work . . . except with manipulative [and postural]
limitations.” AR 39 (citing AR 418-19). And the ALJ
gave “partial weight” to Dr. Godes' opinion
for the sole reason that it did not include postural
limitations and thus was not restrictive enough.
Id. (citing AR 1166). The ALJ thus gave proper
consideration to the medical opinions.
the Court notes that the ALJ found that Plaintiff could
perform her past relevant work as a hairstylist both as
actually and generally performed. See AR 40. The DOT
describes that position as such:
Provides beauty services for customers: Analyzes hair to
ascertain condition of hair. Applies bleach, dye, or tint,
using applicator or brush, to color customer's hair,
first applying solution to portion of customer's skin to
determine if customer is allergic to solution. Shampoos hair
and scalp with water, liquid soap, dry powder, or egg, and
rinses hair with vinegar, water, lemon, or prepared rinses.
Massages scalp and gives other hair and scalp-conditioning
treatments for hygienic or remedial purposes [SCALP-TREATMENT
OPERATOR (personal ser.) 339.371-014]. Styles hair by
blowing, cutting, trimming, and tapering, using clippers,
scissors, razors, and blow-wave gun. Suggests coiffure
according to physical features of patron and current styles,
or determines coiffure from instructions of patron. Applies
water or waving solutions to hair and winds hair around
rollers, or pin curls and finger-waves hair. Sets hair by
blow-dry or natural-set, or presses hair with straightening
comb. Suggests cosmetics for conditions, such as dry or oily
skin. Applies lotions and creams to customer's face and
neck to soften skin and lubricate tissues. Performs other
beauty services, such as massaging face or neck, shaping and
coloring eyebrows or eyelashes, removing unwanted hair,
applying solutions that straighten hair or retain curls or
waves in hair, and waving or curling hair. Cleans, shapes,
and polishes fingernails and toenails [MANICURIST (personal
ser.) 331.674-010]. May be designated according to beauty
service provided as Facial Operator (personal ser.); Finger
Waver (personal ser.); Hair Colorist (personal ser.); Hair
Tinter (personal ser.); Marceller (personal ser.); Permanent
Waver (personal ser.); Shampooer (personal ser.).
DOT 332.271-010 (Cosmetologist). Common knowledge suggests
that a hairstylist spends most of the day on his or her feet,
not in a seated position doing pushing and pulling. See
Gutierrez v. Colvin, 844 F.3d 804, 808-09 (9th Cir.
2016) (finding common knowledge of occupation a relevant
consideration). Consequently, any error in not including a
pushing and pulling limitation was inconsequential to the
ultimate disability determination, as Plaintiff could still
have performed her past relevant work as a hairstylist at
least as generally performed.