Gutierrez v. Colvin
ORDER denying 20 Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by Judge David G Campbell on 9/12/2014.(DGC, nvo)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA
Carolyn W. Colvin,
Plaintiff Juana Gutierrez has filed a motion for reconsideration (Doc. 20) of the
Court’s August 25, 2014 order remanding the case for further proceedings (Doc. 19).
The Court will deny the motion.
Plaintiff argues that the case should have been remanded for an award of benefits
based on the “credit-as-true” rule rather than for further proceedings. Doc. 20 at 2.
Plaintiff argues that the opinions of Drs. Moya and Suarez, if credited as true, would
establish disability as a matter of law and would not require interpretation by a vocational
expert. Doc. 20 at 2. Plaintiff cites SSR 96-8p for the proposition that “an individual
who cannot sustain a full time work pace – 8 hours a day, 5 days a week – is disabled[.]”
Id. The Court is not convinced that Plaintiff accurately reads the regulation, nor is it
convinced that the limitations assessed by Drs. Moya and Suarez would preclude all work
In Smolen v. Chater, 80 F.3d 1273, 1292 (9th Cir. 1996), the Ninth Circuit held
that evidence should be credited and an action remanded for an immediate award of
benefits when the following three factors are satisfied: (1) the ALJ has failed to provide
legally sufficient reasons for rejecting evidence; (2) there are no outstanding issues that
must be resolved before a determination of disability can be made; and (3) it is clear from
the record that the ALJ would be required to find the claimant disabled were such
evidence credited. Plaintiff correctly notes that even where the requirements of the
credit-as-true rule are met, the Court may “remand for further proceedings when the
record as a whole creates serious doubt as to whether the claimant is, in fact, disabled.”
Garrison v. Colvin, -- F.3d --, 2014 WL 3397218, at *21 (9th Cir. 2014).
An analysis of the opinions of Drs. Moya and Suarez demonstrates the existence
of outstanding issues and provides serious doubt as to whether the record establishes that
Plaintiff is disabled. Dr. Suarez opined that Plaintiff had no restrictions on standing or
walking (A.R. 230), while Dr. Moya opined that Plaintiff could sit for more than four
hours but less than six and stand or walk for less than 2 hours (A.R. 333). The vocational
expert was asked a hypothetical about a person that could stand, sit, and walk for six
hours per day and based her opinion on those restrictions. A.R. 40. She did not consider
the limitations assessed by Dr. Suarez. Assuming the opinion of Dr. Suarez regarding
Plaintiff’s unlimited ability to stand and walk were credited as true, the Court cannot
conclude that an award of benefits would be required. This evidence creates serious
doubt as to whether Plaintiff is disabled and is precisely the type of outstanding issue for
which further proceedings would serve a useful purpose. Accordingly, the Court will not
reconsider its decision to remand the case for further proceedings.
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration (Doc. 20) is denied.
Dated this 12th day of September, 2014.
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