United States District Court, C.D. California, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DOUGLAS F. McCORMICK, United States Magistrate Judge.
G. (“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.
filed an application for DIB on April 22, 2014, alleging
disability beginning August 10, 2012. See Dkt. 16,
Administrative Record (“AR”) 263-64, 305. After
being denied initially and on reconsideration, Plaintiff
requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”). See AR 133-34. A hearing was
held on April 13, 2017, at which Plaintiff, an impartial
medical expert (“ME”), and an impartial
vocational expert (“VE”) testified. See
AR 60-98. A supplemental hearing was held on July 20, 2017,
at which Plaintiff and an impartial VE testified.
See AR 42-59. On August 10, 2017, the ALJ issued a
written decision finding Plaintiff not disabled under the
Social Security Act. See AR 20-34.
found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since his onset date. See AR 25. The ALJ
next found that Plaintiff had the severe impairments of
“degenerative disc disease/spinal disorder of the
lumbar and cervical spine, status post 2015 lumbar fusion;
osteoarthritis/degenerative joint disease of the bilateral
knees and the bilateral shoulders, status post arthroscopy of
both knees; and obesity.” AR 25-26. The ALJ determined
that Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform sedentary work except that he:
is limited to lifting and/or carrying and/or pushing/pulling
20 pounds occasionally, 10 pounds frequently; can stand or
walk on even surfaces only 2 hours in an 8-hour workday, but
for no more than one continuous hour of standing and/or
walking at any one stretch, with the use of knee braces; can
sit for a combined 6 hours in an 8-hour workday, but for no
more than one continuous hour of sitting at any one stretch;
following one hour of continuous sitting, would need to
reposition from sitting to standing for ten minutes while
remaining on task and following one hour of continuous
standing and/or walking, would need to reposition from
standing to sitting for ten minutes while remaining on task;
can never climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds, kneel, and
crawl; can rarely (defined as 1 hour of an 8-hour workday)
balance and climb ramps and stairs; can occasionally crouch
and stoop; can occasionally reach overhead with the bilateral
upper extremities; can frequently reach in all directions
(other than overhead) with the bilateral upper extremities;
and can have no exposure to vibrations, workplace hazards
(including moving machinery and unprotected heights), extreme
cold or extreme heat.
AR 28-29. The ALJ found that Plaintiff could not perform his
past work, but could perform jobs existing in the national
economy, including addresser (DOT 209.587-010), bonder (DOT
726.685-066), screener (DOT 726.684-110), election clerk (DOT
205.367-030), document preparer (DOT 249.567-018), and call
out operator (DOT 327.367-014). See AR 32-34.
Appeals Council denied review of the ALJ's decision,
which became the final decision of the Commissioner.
See AR 1-6. This action followed. See Dkt.
parties dispute whether the ALJ properly considered the
opinion of Plaintiffs treating physician, Dr. Brent Pratley.
See Dkt. 20, Joint Submission (“JS”) at
Physician Opinion and ALJ Reasoning
March 6, 2014, Plaintiff saw Dr. Pratley for an orthopedic
initial consultation in connection with a workers'
compensation claim. See AR 547. Plaintiff complained
of recurring headaches and sharp pain in the neck, shoulders,
lower back, and knees. See AR 549-50. After
reviewing Plaintiffs medical history and conducting a
physical examination, Dr. Pratley diagnosed Plaintiff with
right knee tear, left knee history of surgery with sequel,
and stress. See AR 560. Dr. Pratley prescribed
medication, referred Plaintiff to physical therapy, and
requested an MRI of the bilateral knees. See AR
underwent MRIs on March 21 and 28, 2014. See AR 582
(left knee), 583 (right knee). After reviewing the MRIs, Dr.
Pratley again diagnosed Plaintiff with right knee tear, left
knee with history of surgery, and stress. See AR
Plaintiff underwent several additional MRIs at Dr.
Pratley's behest. See AR 591-92 (lumbar spine),
594-95 (cervical spine), 598-99 (right shoulder), 602-03
October 2, 2014, Dr. Pratley completed a medical source
statement form. See AR 611-12. He diagnosed
Plaintiff with right knee tear, left knee arthroscopy (x2),
bilateral shoulder tear, lumbar spine herniation, and
cervical spine sprain/strain, and constant pain. See
AR 611. Among other limitations, Dr. Pratley opined that
Plaintiff could sit for 0-2 hours and stand/walk for 1 hour
in an 8-hour workday, and needed to alternate between sitting
and standing every 10-15 minutes. See id He further