Edwin M. Reyes Hernandez v. Kilolo Kijakazi

Filing 28

ORDER ACCEPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE by Judge Fernando L. Aenlle-Rocha : 1. The Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge is accepted and adopted; 2. The decision of the Commissioner is affirmed; and 3. Judgment shall be entered accordingly. (lc)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 EDWIN R. H., 12 Case No. 2:23-cv-02722-FLA (SSCx) Plaintiff, v. 13 14 MARTIN J. O’MALLEY,1 15 Commissioner of Social Security, 16 ORDER ACCEPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE Defendant. 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 The Commissioner’s name has been updated in accordance with the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 25(d). 1 Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636, the court has reviewed the Complaint, the 2 records on file, and the Report and Recommendation of the United States 3 Magistrate Judge (“Report”). Dkt. 26 (“Report”). Further, the court has engaged in 4 a de novo review of those portions of the Report to which objections have been 5 made. 6 The Report recommends that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge 7 (“ALJ”) denying Plaintiff’s application for Social Security disability benefits be 8 affirmed. See Report. As explained below, Plaintiff’s objections to the Report, 9 Dkt. 27 (“Obj.’s”), do not warrant a change to the Magistrate Judge’s findings or 10 11 recommendation. Plaintiff objects that the Report “improperly relies on reasoning not advanced 12 by the ALJ.” Obj.’s at 2. This objection is based on the opinion of Dr. Stewart, a 13 psychologist. Dkt. 10-9 at 153–57. Dr. Stewart stated that Plaintiff “may” have 14 difficulty in two areas of mental functioning: (1) making simplistic work-related 15 decisions without special supervision; and (2) interacting appropriately with 16 supervisors, coworkers, and peers on a consistent basis. Dkt. 10-9 at 156. When 17 Plaintiff argued the ALJ improperly omitted these limitations from the residual 18 functional capacity (“RFC”) finding, the Report found that “[t]he ALJ was not 19 required to incorporate in the RFC limitations that are uncertain, and Dr. Stewart 20 equivocated by adding ‘may’ to these opined limitations.” Report at 8. Plaintiff 21 argues the Report improperly found these portions of Dr. Stewart’s opinion to be 22 uncertain and equivocal because the ALJ made no such finding. Obj.’s at 3. 23 Plaintiff’s objection does not overcome the Report’s finding that “because 24 these were not concrete limitations the ALJ was not required to explain the 25 omission.” Report at 8. An ALJ is not required to discuss evidence that is not 26 significant and probative. Vincent on Behalf of Vincent v. Heckler, 739 F.2d 1393, 27 1394-95 (9th Cir. 1984) (per curiam); see also Lambert v. Saul, 980 F.3d 1266, 28 1277 (9th Cir. 2020) (ALJs are not required “to draft dissertations when denying 2 1 benefits”). Equivocal evidence is not significant and probative. See Trina v. Saul, 2 2021 WL 1181168, at *9 (D. Or. Mar. 29, 2021) (collecting cases). Thus, the 3 Report properly found that these portions of Dr. Stewart’s opinion, because of their 4 uncertain and equivocal nature, need not have been included in the RFC finding, 5 even without an explanation from the ALJ for the omission. 6 ORDER 7 Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED: 8 1. 9 The Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge is accepted and adopted; 10 2. The decision of the Commissioner is affirmed; and 11 3. Judgment shall be entered accordingly. 12 13 IT IS SO ORDERED. 14 15 Dated: July 5, 2024 _______________________________ FERNANDO L. AENLLE-ROCHA United States District Judge 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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