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’s motion argues that the
Administrative Law Judge erred by finding that plaintiff did
not meet a Listing Impairment and by improperly rejecting
medical opinion evidence.
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 consistent with this order.
7, 2014, plaintiff filed an application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the
Social Security Act (“the Act”) alleging
disability beginning on October 31, 2000. (Transcript
(“Tr.”) at 21, 125, 257-58.) On April 15, 2014,
plaintiff filed an application for Supplemental Security
Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Act also
alleging disability beginning on October 31, 2000.
(Transcript (“Tr.”) at 21, 257-65.)
Plaintiff’s alleged impairments included depression,
anxiety, bipolar disorder, and ankle arthritis. (Id.
at 110.) Plaintiff’s applications were denied
initially, (id. at 167-71, 173-77), and upon
reconsideration. (Id. at 182-87.)
requested an administrative hearing and a hearing was held
before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on
January 25, 2017. (Id. at 36-109.) Plaintiff was
represented by an attorney and testified at the
administrative hearing. (Id. at 36-38.) In a
decision issued on May 12, 2017, the ALJ found that plaintiff
was not disabled. (Id. at 30.) The ALJ entered the
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through September 30, 2007.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since October 31, 2000, the alleged onset date (20
CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
generalized anxiety disorder, and status-post left ankle
fracture. (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
4. 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 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526,
416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except she can occasionally
climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. She can frequently climb
ramps and stairs. The work should require only occasional
interaction with the public, co-workers and supervisors. The
work should require only occasional supervision, defined as
requiring a supervisor’s critical checking of the
person’s work. The work is limited to simple, routine,
repetitive tasks in a work environment with only occasional
production rate or pace work. The work should involve only
simple, work-related decisions with few, if any, changes in
the work place.
6. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565
7. The claimant was born [in] 1973 and was 26 years old,
which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the
alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964).
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the
determination of disability 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 job skills (See SSR 82-41
and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
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 (20 CFR 404.1569, 404.1569(a),
416.969, and 416.969(a)).
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from October 31, 2000, through
the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and
(Id. at 23-30.)
April 17, 2018, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff’s
request for review of the ALJ’s May 12, 2017 decision.
(Id. at 1-5.) Plaintiff sought judicial review
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) by filing the complaint
in this action on June 18, 2018. (ECF. No. 1.)
district court reviews the Commissioner’s final
decision for substantial evidence, and the
Commissioner’s decision will be disturbed only if it is
not supported by substantial evidence or is based on legal
error.” Hill v. Astrue, 698 F.3d 1153, 1158-59
(9th Cir. 2012). Substantial evidence is such relevant
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion. Osenbrock v. Apfel, 240 F.3d
1157, 1162 (9th Cir. 2001); Sandgathe v. Chater, 108
F.3d 978, 980 (9th Cir. 1997).
reviewing court must consider the entire record as a whole
and may not affirm simply by isolating a ‘specific
quantum of supporting evidence.’” Robbins v.
Soc. Sec. Admin., 466 F.3d 880, 882 (9th Cir. 2006)
(quoting Hammock v. Bowen, 879 F.2d 498, 501 (9th
Cir. 1989)). If, however, “the record considered as a
whole can reasonably support either affirming or reversing