United States District Court, S.D. California
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
JUDGE RE: MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF Nos. 15,
Mitchell D. Dembin United States Magistrate Judge.
Report and Recommendation is submitted to United States
District Judge Janis L. Sammartino pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 72.1(c) of the United
States District Court for the Southern District of
Lisa Lurine Michaud (“Plaintiff”) filed this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for judicial
review of the final administrative decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“Commissioner”). (ECF No. 15-1 at
The final administrative decision of the Commissioner denied
Plaintiff's application for Disability Insurance Benefits
under Title II of the Social Security Act (“Title
II”) and for Supplemental Security Income under Title
XVI of the Social Security Act (“Title XVI”). (AR
reasons set forth herein, the Court
RECOMMENDS Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment be GRANTED IN PART,
Defendant's Cross Motion for Summary Judgment be
DENIED, and that the case be
REMANDED for further proceedings.
was born on July 17, 1964. (AR 384). At the time the instant
application was filed on May 27, 2014, Plaintiff was 49
years-old which categorized her as a younger person. 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1563, 416.963.
27, 2014, Plaintiff protectively filed an application for a
period of Disability Insurance Benefits under Title II and
for Supplemental Security Income under Title XVI. (AR 37).
The application alleged a disability beginning November 28,
2011. (Id.). After her application was denied
initially and upon reconsideration, Plaintiff requested an
administrative hearing before an administrative law judge
(“ALJ”). (Id.). An administrative
hearing was held on February 9, 2017. (Id.).
Plaintiff appeared and was represented by attorney Pauline
McMahon. (AR 209). Testimony was taken from Plaintiff and
impartial vocational expert Nelly Katsell. (AR 207-67). On
June 28, 2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff
was not disabled from November 28, 2011 through the date of
the decision and therefore denied Plaintiff's claim for
benefits. (AR 45).
August 25, 2017, Plaintiff sought review with the Appeals
Council. (AR 414). On October 16, 2018, the Appeals Council
denied Plaintiff's request for review and declared the
ALJ's decision to be the Commissioner's final
decision in Plaintiff's case. (AR 1-4). This timely civil
405(g) and 1383(c)(3) of the Social Security Act allow
unsuccessful applicants to seek judicial review of a final
agency decision of the Commissioner. 42 U.S.C. §§
405(g), 1383(c)(3). The scope of judicial review is limited
in that a denial of benefits will not be disturbed if it is
supported by substantial evidence and contains no legal
error. Id.; see also Batson v. Comm'r of the
SSA, 359 F.3d 1190, 1193 (9th Cir. 2004).
evidence means “more than a mere scintilla but less
than a preponderance. . . .” Sandgathe v.
Chater, 108 F.3d 978, 980 (9th Cir. 1997) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted). “[I]t is such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.” Id.
(quoting Andrews v. Shalala, 53 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th
Cir. 1995)). The court must consider the record as a whole,
weighing both the evidence that supports and detracts from
the Commissioner's conclusions. Desrosiers v.
Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 846 F.2d 573,
576 (9th Cir. 1988). If the evidence supports more than one
rational interpretation, the court must uphold the ALJ's
decision. Batson, 359 F.3d at 1193. When the
evidence is inconclusive, “‘questions of
credibility and resolution of conflicts in the testimony are
functions solely of the Secretary.'” Sample v.
Schweiker, 694 F.2d 639, 642 (9th Cir. 1982) (quoting
Waters v. Gardner, 452 F.2d 855, 858 n.7 (9th Cir.
a reviewing court finds that substantial evidence supports
the ALJ's conclusion, the court must set aside the
decision if the ALJ failed to apply the proper legal
standards in weighing the evidence and reaching his or her
decision. Batson, 359 F.3d at 1193. Section 405(g)
permits a court to enter a judgment affirming, modifying, or
reversing the Commissioner's decision. 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). The reviewing court may also remand the matter to the
Social Security Administration for further proceedings.
Summary of the ...