United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. STANDISH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
William K. (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint
seeking review of the decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security denying his applications for Disability Insurance
Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the
parties consented to proceed before the undersigned United
States Magistrate Judge and filed briefs addressing the
disputed issues in this case. [Dkt. 19 (“Pl.
Br.”), Dkt. 27 (“Def. Br.”).] The Court has
taken the parties’ briefing under submission without
oral argument. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
affirms the decision of the ALJ and orders that judgment be
ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION UNDER REVIEW
2011, Plaintiff filed applications for SSI and DIB alleging
disability since December 27, 2008. [Dkt. 15, Administrative
Record (“AR”) 161-167.] In both applications,
Plaintiff stated that he became disabled and unable to work
due to a combination of physical and mental impairments.
Defendant denied his applications on initial review and
reconsideration, and Plaintiff was found not disabled by an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) in a December 6,
2012 decision. [AR 16-24.] After the Appeals Council denied
review, Plaintiff filed a civil complaint in this Court,
which remanded the case for further consideration of
Plaintiff’s mental impairments at step two. [AR
held a hearing on the remanded application on June 13, 2017.
[AR 700-726.] The ALJ issued a second unfavorable decision on
September 14, 2017. [AR 684-696.] Plaintiff sought review of
the ALJ’s second decision, which was denied. The
present case before the Court followed.
relevant here, ALJ’s decision under review found that
Plaintiff had severe impairments including major depressive
disorder and diabetes mellitus. [AR 689.] The ALJ then found
that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that met or medically equaled a listed
impairment. [AR 690.] Based on his impairments, the ALJ found
that Plaintiff had the Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”) to perform medium work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c) except he is limited to:
Lifting 50 pounds occasionally, and 25 pounds frequently;
standing and walking for six hours in an eight hour workday;
sitting for six hours in an eight hour workday; and
frequently balancing, bending, climbing, crawling, crouching,
kneeling, and stooping. The claimant cannot do complex work
and contact with the general public should be limited to 50%
of the time.
then determined that Plaintiff had no past relevant work, but
considering his age, education, and work experience, that
jobs existed in significant numbers in the national economy
that Plaintiff could perform given his RFC.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the Court reviews the
Commissioner’s decision to determine if: (1) the
Commissioner’s findings are supported by substantial
evidence; and (2) the Commissioner used correct legal
standards. See Carmickle v. Comm’r Soc. Sec.
Admin., 533 F.3d 1155, 1159 (9th Cir. 2008); Brewes
v. Comm’r Soc. Sec. Admin., 682 F.3d 1157, 1161
(9th Cir. 2012) (internal citation omitted).
“Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla but
less than a preponderance; it is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Gutierrez v. Comm’r of Soc.
Sec., 740 F.3d 519, 522-23 (9th Cir. 2014) (internal
Court will uphold the Commissioner’s decision when the
evidence is susceptible to more than one rational
interpretation. See Molina v. Astrue, 674 F.3d 1104,
1110 (9th Cir. 2012). However, the Court may review only the
reasons stated by the ALJ in his decision “and may not
affirm the ALJ on a ground upon which he did not rely.”
Orn v. Astrue, 495 F.3d 625, 630 (9th Cir. 2007).
The Court will not reverse the Commissioner’s decision
if it is based on harmless error, which exists if the error
is “inconsequential to the ultimate nondisability
determination, or if despite the legal error, the
agency’s path may reasonably be discerned.”
Brown-Hunter v. Colvin, 806 F.3d 487, 492 (9th Cir.
2015) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). ///