United States District Court, C.D. California, Eastern Division
SAGAR, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
11, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Complaint seeking review of the
Commissioner's denial of Plaintiff's applications for
a period of disability and disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”), and supplemental security income
(“SSI”), respectively, under Titles II and XVI of
the Social Security Act. (Dkt. No. 1). On October 10, 2018,
Defendant filed an Answer and the Administrative Record
(“AR”). (Dkt. Nos. 16-17). The parties have
consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge.
(Dkt. Nos. 11-12). On December 29, 2018, the parties filed a
Joint Stipulation (“Joint Stip.”) setting forth
their respective positions regarding Plaintiff's claim.
(Dkt. No. 18). The matter was transferred to the undersigned
Magistrate Judge on November 14, 2019. (Dkt. No. 23). The
Court has taken this matter under submission without oral
argument. See C.D. Cal. C. R. 7-15.
AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
January 18, 2011, Plaintiff, formerly employed as a data
entry clerk (see AR 53, 207, 800, 846), filed
applications for DIB and SSI alleging a disability onset date
of October 24, 2009. (AR 176-85, 186-91). Plaintiff's
applications were denied initially on March 11, 2011 (AR
113-17), and on reconsideration on September 1, 2011. (AR
November 2, 2012, following a hearing, Administrative Law
Judge Duane B. Young issued a decision denying
Plaintiff's applications. (AR 22-58, 95-112). The Appeals
Council then denied a request for review, and Plaintiff filed
a complaint in this Court seeking review of the
Commissioner's decision. (AR 9-14, 853-64; see
Williams v. Colvin, No. EDCV 14-2146 PLA). On July 23,
2015, the Court remanded the matter for further proceedings.
(AR 865-885; see Williams, No. EDCV 14-2146 PLA,
Dkt. Nos. 15-16).
remand, ALJ Dana McDonald (“ALJ”) held a hearing
on July 26, 2016, and received testimony from Vocational
Expert (“VE”) Troy Scott, Medical Expert Eric
Schmitter, and Plaintiff, who was represented by counsel.
(See AR 810-52). On September 22, 2016, the ALJ
issued a decision denying Plaintiff's applications. (AR
applied the requisite five-step process to evaluate
Plaintiff's case. At step one, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements through
December 31, 2015, and had not been engaged in substantial
gainful activity from October 24, 2009, her alleged
disability onset date, to July 31, 2012, and also from
December 1, 2014 to the date of the decision. (AR 792).
However, between those two periods, from August 1, 2012 to
November 30, 2014, Plaintiff ran a small childcare business
out of her home, full time, which the ALJ found to be
substantial gainful activity. (Id.).
two, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: left knee degenerative joint disease and
internal derangement; left knee enthesopathy; history of left
knee arthroscopy surgery; angina with evidence of cardiac
ischemia; lumbar spine facet arthropathy; lumbar spine
degenerative disc disease with fusion in November 2013;
cervical spine degenerative disc disease; and obesity. (AR
792-93). The ALJ found that Plaintiff's other alleged
impairments, including mental impairments, were non-severe.
three, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's impairments
did not meet or equal a listing found in 20 C.F.R Part 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 1. (AR 794). Next, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff had the Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”) to perform “the full range of
sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and
416.967(a). (AR 795).
four, the ALJ determined, based on the VE's testimony,
that Plaintiff is capable of performing her past relevant
work as a data entry clerk as actually and generally
performed. (AR 800-01). The ALJ thus concluded that Plaintiff
has not been disabled since her alleged disability onset date
of October 24, 2009. (AR 801).
April 4, 2018, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's
request to review the ALJ's decision. (See AR
776-72). Plaintiff now seeks judicial review of the ALJ's
decision, which stands as the final decision of the
Commissioner. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g),
Court reviews the Administration's decision to determine
if it is free of legal error and supported by substantial
evidence. See Brewes v. Comm'r, 682 F.3d 1157,
1161 (9th Cir. 2012). “Substantial evidence” is
more than a mere scintilla, but less than a preponderance.
Garrison v. Colvin, 759 F.3d 995, 1009 (9th Cir.
2014). To determine whether substantial evidence supports a
finding, “a court must consider the record as a whole,
weighing both evidence that supports and evidence that
detracts from the [Commissioner's] conclusion.”
Aukland v. Massanari, 257 F.3d 1033, 1035 (9th Cir.
2001) (internal quotation omitted). As a result, “[i]f
the evidence can support ...