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Collins v. Saul

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 19, 2019

PAUL S. COLLINS, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER

          EDMUND F. BRENNAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying his applications for a period of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. The parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment. ECF Nos. 12 & 13. For the reasons discussed below, plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment is granted, the Commissioner’s motion is denied, and the matter is remanded for further proceedings.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff filed applications for a period of disability, DIB, and SSI, alleging that he had been disabled since January 31, 2012. Administrative Record (“AR”) 195-228. Plaintiff’s applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration. Id. at 111-120, 125-137. A hearing was subsequently held before administrative law judge (“ALJ”) Mark Triplett. Id. at 41-69.

         Plaintiff was represented by counsel at the hearing, at which he and a vocational expert testified. Id.

         On November 28, 2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding that plaintiff was not disabled under sections 216(i), 223(d), and 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Act.[1] Id. at 22-32. The ALJ made the following specific findings:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 30, 2015, the amended alleged onset date.
* * *
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
* * *
3. 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.
* * *
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work with the following additional limitations. He can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, and he can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He cannot tolerate noise levels above moderate as defined in Appendix D, Selected Characteristics of Occupations (1993 Edition). He can tolerate occasional exposure to extreme heat. He can tolerate no exposure to fumes, odors, dust, gases, or poor ventilation. He can tolerate no exposure to workplace hazards, such as unprotected heights and exposed moving machinery.
* * *
5. The claimant has no past relevant work.
6. The claimant was born on [in] 1965 and was 50 years old, which is defined as an individual closely approaching advanced age, on ...

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